Job seekers seldom look at a job interview through the eyes of their future employers because they are too focused on their own performances. Employers have unspoken questions that may be inappropriate to ask in an interview. Nonetheless, those questions seek answers. Some of the unasked questions are "Will I like this person?"; "Will this person get along with the other staff?"; "Will this person be disruptive?"; "Is this person committed to the organisation?"; and "Am I making the right decision to hire this person." Addressing these unasked questions will increase the probability of you getting hired. As you answer each of the unasked questions, look for nonverbal and verbal "like signals" that indicate that you and your future employer are hitting it off. Like signals include eyebrow flashes, smiles, head tilts, and nods.
Seek Common Ground. When you walk into your future employer's office, scan the room for pictures, trinkets, sports paraphernalia, hobbies, or anything you can use to find common ground. Common ground is the quickest way to build rapport. The three ways to establish common ground are contemporaneous, temporal, and vicarious. Contemporaneous means that you and your future employer share the same interests at the same time.
Temporal common ground is established when you and your future employer share interests across time. If your future employer has a picture of his or her children, and you have grown children or you plan to have children, you experience common ground across time, either past or future. Vicarious common ground is established when you and your future employer share a common interest through a third person. Getting your future employer to like you is the first step in the hiring process. Your expression of common interest must be sincere. Do not try to fake it. Employers do not want to hire phonies. Employers seek men and women of good character.
Make the future boss feel good. The Golden Rule of Friendship states: If you want people to like you, make them feel good about themselves. Flatter your future employer, but not directly. Direct flattery often sounds patronising. The best way to flatter people is to allow them to flatter themselves. Few people will pass up an opportunity to flatter themselves. Make a well-placed comment such as "I noticed that everyone in the office looks happy. That's a sign of good management." Since your future employer manages the people you saw, watch for a faint smile as your future employer silently compliments himself or herself for being a good manager. Building quick rapport increases your chances of getting hired.
Articulate short-term and long-term goals. Few job seekers look beyond the job interview. Employers not only want to know how newly hired employees will fit into the organisation, but how newly hired employees will grow with the organisation. The last thing employers want to do is to go through the hiring and training processes every couple of years. Job seekers can alleviate these concerns by stating their short-term and long-term goals. Long-term goals should be based on common sense. For example, "My long-term goal is to take on more important responsibilities as I grow with the company." These goals demonstrate that you thought about the position you are seeking, that you are willing to start at the bottom, and that you expect to take on more responsibilities as you acquire new skills. Even the most experienced job seekers must not only learn how the new organisation functions, but they must also develop strategies to integrate into the existing organisational culture.
Look at your interview through the perspective of your future employer. Employers hire people who are not only qualified but people who employers think will not cause problems in the future. Draw a visual picture or mental image of you performing your duties as an existing employee. Visual imagery encourages your future employer to visualise you as an employee and reassures your future employer that he or she "made" the right decision to hire you before you actually get hired.
Make a Commitment. Employers want to know they made the right decision when they hire someone. This reaction is similar to buyer's remorse. Buyer's remorse can cause untold anxiety. You should reassure your future employer that he or she is making the right decision by making one or more commitment statements at the close of your interview or meeting. For example, "I promise to work hard and be on time every day." Make commitments and live up to the commitments you make. What more could an employer say but, "You are hired!"
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