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How to Create Instant Rapport with Your Interviewer
Getting an interview is hard enough. You’ve already spent time and effort writing your resume and distributing it. Now you’ve got to the all important interview. Only one person will get the job so you owe it to yourself to make the best possible impression. If you can make yourself instantly likeable you will have an important head start.
Ever noticed how lovers in a bar will sit facing each other across a small table and adopt the same pose. Their synchronicity indicates a desire to be in tune with each other. As one changes position watch how the other will soon adopt the same new position so that their bodies remain synchronized.
This behaviour is called mirroring because they place their bodies so that they are a mirror image of each other. And this behaviour isn’t just confined to lovers. Watch a small group of people in any meeting, whether social or business, and you’ll soon be able to tell who is in tune with whom and the ones that are feeling less comfortable with their companions.
Next time you are with someone make a point of adopting the same body position. If they are standing at a bar with one elbow on the bar and their ankles crossed, stand next to them in the same pose. You may be surprised at how quickly they respond more warmly towards you.
As they change posture wait a few seconds and then slowly slide into their new position. Don’t be shy because they won’t consciously notice that your movements are deliberate. But their subconscious will be aware and interpret your mirroring as a friendly gesture. They will also feel safer facing someone who looks the same.
The first time I heard about this technique I was somewhat skeptical. I had to attend a business meeting with someone many miles away so I thought I would try mirroring him on the basis that if he realised what I was doing or reacted unfavourably it wouldn’t matter much as at least I wouldn’t have to make the same long journey again.
I decided that I would mirror him but not lead our discussion. Instead I would let him do all the talking and only talk when necessary. We sat on opposite sides of his desk and right from the beginning I adopted his pose. Each time he changed position I would follow within a minute or so. He was a smoker but I am not so I held a pen whilst he smoked.
Our meeting began at two o’clock and I thought it would last about an hour or an hour and a half at most. But I was in for a big surprise. After two hours there was still no sign from him that our meeting should end.
For my part I was intrigued at how well we were getting along. He kept telling me how pleased he was that I had come so far to meet him and how much he was enjoying our conversation. This was a surprise especially since I had hardly spoken.
When it got to half past five I had to interrupt and make my apologies for bringing our meeting to a close. Again he thanked me profusely for visiting him.
Clearly the fact that I had been a good listener was very important but without my mirroring I do believe he would not have felt so at ease with me.
Since then I have mirrored people in all sorts of situations and have always had a positive response. More recently I have introduced mirroring to job candidates who have all found it beneficial. It even works if you are being interviewed by a board. As a board member asks a question, swivel in your seat to face the questioner and at the same time slide your body into the same posture they have.
Mirroring happens unconsciously between people who like each other. By deliberately mirroring you are simply showing that you are in tune with another with the result that you will receive a positive response.
Try it with the next person you meet. Once you are sure of its beneficial effect you will have the confidence to use it at your next interview. Of course you will still have to prepare for the interview and answer the interview questions correctly but mirroring will certainly tip the balance in your favour.
About the Author: Michael Soliatis offers career change advice.