Many hiring managers hire people who are just like themselves. They choose people with similar mannerisms, appearance, intelligence and culture. Some go as far as hiring people from the same educational background, experiences, gender, race or religion.
When you look at the psychology behind hiring, people feel comfortable with exact replicas of themselves because they can relate to them and predict their behavior. We are attracted to familiar situations and likenesses.
While you can’t change your race, age or appearance, you can change your style of interviewing to create a sense of familiarity with the interviewer. It’s called building rapport at the deep psychological level.
Building psychological rapport is less about finding external matches – such as noting that you both play golf – and more about having the same communication style and mirroring body language. Next time you’re talking with an interviewer, use the following tips to tailor your responses to his or her communication preferences. By doing this, you can increase your rapport and your chances of getting hired.
There are three dominant communication styles. People tend to be visual, auditory or kinesthetic. That is, they process information through images, sounds or feelings. Here is how to recognize the style of the hiring manager:
Visual: Visual people stand up tall, tend to be well-groomed and look up when they’re speaking. They speak fast (think about how images in our brain flash quickly). They’ll use words such as: see, picture, bright and focus.
Auditory: Auditory interviewers stand balanced and look side to side when they’re speaking. They tend to have a slight tilt to their head when they’re listening — picture a violinist. They speak very eloquently and use phrases such as: “That resonates with me,” “that rings a bell” and “that doesn’t sound right to me.”
Kinesthetic: Kinesthetic interviewers stand relaxed and look down when they’re speaking. They tend to slouch on their chairs and talk very slowly (think about how emotions process less quickly than images or sound). They use words such as: grasp, solid, rough and feel.
Start noticing these subtleties with those around you and practice changing your communication style to match the person you’re talking to. In your next interview, you may have to leave your comfort zone to build rapport with the interviewer. For example, if you’re a visual person and speak very fast, the kinesthetic manager won’t be able to feel what you’re saying and therefore won’t feel comfortable hiring you.
If you can successfully change your style to match the hiring manager’s, you’ll notice a stronger sense of connection and you’ll greatly increase your odds of communicating effectively, being understood and potentially getting the job offer.
In my next post, I’ll go into deeper language patterns and some examples on how you can increase your odds of building rapport with the interviewer.
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