It’s often referred to as ‘Hold the Mirror.’ Imagine you walking into an interview and YOU are the interviewer. If a negative or positive impression is made within 90 seconds of being with an interviewer, what impression are you making? I remember disclosing the most about myself to interviewers who were very friendly and interested in me right off the bat, who smiled and were relaxed and somewhat casual. Your ability to establish rapport quickly is vital to conducting an authentic, disclosing interview. In an interviewer’s shoes, this is the “you” that the interviewer is seeing and thinking about:
- What shoes are they wearing and what condition are they in? As you approach the interviewee you get a full body view of the candidate. You size them up starting at the feet first. Polished shoes and modest heels on women are most favoured.
- How are they dressed? The last thing you want is to be enraptured by someone’s jewellery or tie so that it is hard to concentrate on the words rather than the feeling you are getting from an item of clothing.
- How well does their temperament match the job? If interviewing for a marketing or sales position you are probably looking for a candidate with a different temperament than someone interviewing for an accounting or IT position. You want every candidate to be themselves by being enthusiastic, confident and prepared, but if the position is more people oriented than technical than a more demonstrative showing of energy might be expected and required.
- Their ability to succeed depends on how high their emotional intelligence is. Recognize five EI components a candidate needs to have to be successful in the position they are interviewing for, which ones they have and which ones they need to develop. Get more insight into how to read people more effectively in “The EQ Edge” by Steven Stein and Howard Book to learn more.
- Can they hit the ground running? You want to get an impression that the interviewee knows what is expected of them at the position’s level and salary. Ask the incumbent what they would accomplish in the first 30 and 60 days on the job.
- Check out their company cultural preference. Enlighten the candidate about the corporate culture and environment. Anticipate questions that ask about the kind of people who succeed in your company’s environment or share that information and look for examples of how they have succeeded in similar departments or with particular management styles.
- What asset do they bring to the organization? Ask visionary questions that make the candidate think outside the box, Ask them for new ideas of how to add revenue, decrease costs or improve customer service. You want to know how they will add value to the position and to the company. Even when the job is not a sales position you want the candidate to sell themselves, to talk benefits, what they will do for the company not just what they have done in previous positions.
- How motivated are they? You want them to thrive, not just survive. Don’t assume the interviewee wants the job. Look for some sign of enthusiasm that indicates they are willing to go the extra mile to succeed. Finding out what motivates the candidate will help you determine whether this position and company is their balliwick or not.
- How do they compare to other candidates? When the candidates are all similar and it is hard to ascertain who you should select, step outside of the workplace accomplishments and find out more about the person. Find out what involvement they had in high school or university, how they spend their free time, where they’ve travelled to or what books they like to read. Ask about their personal goals, dreams and aspirations, staying within all legal limits.
You are looking for stories. People remember stories, they don’t remember words. You are most attracted to candidates who are animated, passionate, involved and succinct. You keep your attention best when they stay on track and in some instances, entertain you.
Career Specialist and Trainer
Author of Networking: How to Build Relationships That Count and How to Get a Job and Keep It