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.

Colleen Clarke

Career Specialist and Trainer

Author of Networking: How to
Build Relationships That Count
and How to Get a Job and Keep