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Least Favorite Job Search Phase
Mirroring Without Mocking Print
Written by Abby Kohut   

Similar to the fact that customers typically buy from sales people they like, interviewers also tend to hire people they like. Assuming you are qualified for the job, getting a "yes" vote depends on whether or not the interviewer finds you engaging, and feels comfortable with you. For this reason, it is critical to establish rapport quickly with him or her. Besides using words to find common ground, you also may find success using a technique called mirroring.

People generally like people that are similar to them and believe me, you want your interviewer to like you. Therefore, by observing an interviewer's body language and reflecting this back at them, they are likely to feel more at ease and friendly towards you.

Here are three ways to mirror your interviewer:

  1. Pay close attention to your interviewer's gestures. If they often use their hands to make things clear, try to do this as well. If they don't make many movements, try keeping yours to a minimum.

  2. Notice their body posture and adopt a similar one. If they are sitting up straight and tall, you should do the same. If they lean forward, mirror their actions several minutes later.

  3. Notice the speed at which the interviewer speaks and adapt your own pace to theirs. Match their style including tone, rhythm, and pronunciation.

Here are three times when you should not mirror your interviewer:

  1. If you notice your interviewer lean backwards in his chair, lean forwards in yours several minutes later, so as not to be too obvious. Leaning forward should draw them closer into the conversation.

  2. If your interviewer folds her arms, do not fold yours. In fact, never fold your arms even if you are freezing cold. Folded arms typically indicates closed mindedness, defensiveness, and basic disagreement.

  3. If the interviewer shakes his head or sighs, consider this to be a sign of displeasure. Assume that you need to win back some points, and quickly.

While you are mirroring behaviors you don't want to appear to be mimicking because it feels like mocking. For example, just remember a time when little Johnny starting repeating everything you said word for word just to annoy you. Practicing the mirroring skill will help it become second nature to you and less obvious to the interviewer.

Absolutely Abby’s Advice:
Like everything else about interviewing, mirroring effectively requires polish and precision. Practicing this skill while also learning how to best explain your strengths to an interviewer will help you soar to success in the interviewing game.
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Drawn from my 18 years of experience and research in recruiting and Human Resources, my blog posts are intended to provide insight into what corporate recruiters and Human Resource professionals look for when they are evaluating your qualifications. Simply reading these blogs will not guarantee you success. However, consistently applying the strategies mentioned, as well as developing your own personal interview style, will greatly enhance your chances of victory amidst the competition. I wish you the best of luck with your search as you begin to take charge of your career!