If you’re out looking for a job it usually feels like you’re being judged on every little thing you do, have done, or potentially will do in the future. Interestingly enough, a Harvard professor discovered you’re actually only judged on two things:
“People size you up in seconds, but what exactly are they evaluating?
Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy has been studying first impressions alongside fellow psychologists Susan Fiske and Peter Glick for more than 15 years and has discovered patterns in these interactions.
In her book, “Presence,” Cuddy says people quickly answer two questions when they first meet you:
– Can I trust this person?
– Can I respect this person?
Psychologists refer to these dimensions as warmth and competence respectively, and ideally, you want to be perceived as having both.
Interestingly, Cuddy says that most people, especially in a professional context, believe that competence is the more important factor. After all, they want to prove that they are smart and talented enough to handle your business.”
Trust and Respect
I’ll add this is probably the two things you’re being judged immediately following the judging that gets done on your overall appearance, which is almost instantaneous! Let’s face it, we like to hire pretty people.
Once you open your mouth, you’re being judged on how well can I trust what this person is telling me, and can I respect their background, work ethic, where they came from, etc. Most of this is based on the person doing the judging, not you. I know, that sucks.
How do you help yourself?
1. Try and mirror the energy of the person who is interviewing you. If you come in all calm and cool, and the person who is interviewing is really upbeat and high energy, they’ll immediately question you as a fit.
2. Do research on who you’ll be interviewing with and try and get some sense of their background and story. Try and make some connections as fast as possible in the interview. This will help build trust and respect with this person. In today’s world, it’s not that hard to find out stuff about an individual. If HR sets up your interview, just politely ask who you will be interviewing with (the name).
3. Be interesting. Have a good story to tell, one that most people will find funny or interesting. Not too long. A good icebreaker to set off the interview on a great tone.
I tell people all the time. An interview isn’t a test, it’s just a conversation with some people you don’t know. We have these all the time. Sometimes you end up liking the people, sometimes you don’t. If you don’t like the people you’re interviewing with, there’s a good chance you won’t like the job!
Originally published on the Tim Sackett Project blog.