Whether you are submitting a CV or attending an interview, the initial impact you make will broadly determine the outcome of the process.

In fact it can be as little as five seconds during which a lot of decisions are made.

Take the humble CV, for instance. Tests have shown that a recruiter will make up a decision about a candidate’s CV in between 6 and 8 seconds.

Admittedly that decision may be a definite No, a definite Yes and lots of Maybes. They then spend a bit more time on the Maybes, but in eight seconds you might not get that far.

In interview situations, however objective the process, a similar instant reaction, apparently less than five seconds, is made by most of us. It dates back to much earlier times, when your very survival depended upon whether an individual was for you or against you. And we just can’t help using those instincts, whatever process we are asked to go through.

It is not the whole secret to preparing a CV or to attending an interview, but if you are entirely capable, and competent, and you can make a great first impression and you can interview well then you are on the road to success.

If you can’t, you have to work that little bit harder. Learn to make an instant impact and you will do better.

However unfair that is.