By Hal Horowitz
Originally published in Leasing News
Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018
Immediately following my candidates’ interviews, I am on the phone with my candidate and then my client, collecting the juicy details of their meeting. Our discussions include an assessment of the candidate’s technical skills; if he’s a fit for the company culture; how well the position matches the candidate’s requirements for challenge and opportunity; whether each is interested in moving the process further along; if compensation was discussed; and, the concern I ask about first, how was the chemistry between them.
Did they hit it off on professional level? Did they each break the ice comfortably? Was there a trust-bond established? Did they find their dialogue open and credible? Did they communicate horizontally or vertically? Could they see themselves working together in their respective capacities? I ask about the chemistry between them because that is what will set the tone for the entire rest of the interview. It’s my guestimate that probably 80% of the decision to hire someone over other equally qualified candidates is based on the rapport the candidate and the interviewer were able to establish.
In some ways, an interview is much like a date. You each want to impress the other, enjoy the time you spend together and end it on a high note, hopefully wanting to see each other again. In other words, you hope you and your date will feel the chemistry. But while an enjoyable date can last several hours over a dinner, perhaps, and a movie, the chemistry that needs to be created during an interview must typically must happen in a more restricted and finite amount of time.
You cannot force chemistry. But there are steps you can take to help you quickly connect with a complete stranger and enhance your odds for another meeting.
Assess. Take a moment to look around your interviewer’s office and see if there is anything that jumps out at you that might establish shared interests. Family pictures, sports paraphernalia, a nice view of the city, or even they commonality of chosen fields of interest. Use these as brief ice breakers. Be cautious of seeming to pry or wasting too much of your interviewer’s, and your, time on non-job-related matters. Take note of your interviewer’s personality traits; will she be looking for succinct or detailed answers?
Feeling a connection with your interviewer doesn’t have to mean she will become your lifelong friend, your advocate or your mentor. Many jobs are attainable without having to make any kind of connection, and others, even with good chemistry are not. What having that chemistry with your interviewer does, though, is give you a leg up as an applicant for that position (especially if the position requires that you establish, develop or manage new and/or existing relationships, or need to interface extensively with others), and that leg up, that chemistry that you were able to establish with your interviewer? Well, it might have been the deciding factor between you and some other equally qualified candidate.