Mirroring Without Mimicking

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. Besides using words to develop rapport, you also may find success using a technique called "mirroring". People generally like people who 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 him by subtly mirroring his movements, he is 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 he often uses his hands while explaining things to you, try to do this as well. If he doesn't use many gestures, keep yours to a minimum.

2) Notice his body posture and adopt a similar one. If he is sitting up straight and tall, you should do the same. If he leans forward, mirror his actions several minutes later.

3) Notice the speed at which your interviewer speaks and adapt your own pace to his. Match his style including tone, rhythm, and pronunciation. If you do this, you will score points that you didn't even know were up for grabs. 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.

Here are two kinds of body language to look out for from your interviewer:

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

2) If the interviewer shakes his head or sighs or crosses his arms, consider this to be an obvious sign of displeasure. Assume that you need to win back some points, and quickly.


Absolutely Abby's Advice: Like everything else about interviewing, effective mirroring 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.

Blog by Absolutely Abby Kohut. See more from Abby on her site: http://www.absolutelyabby.com/


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