Stay at 20%

Number 20

There is one common mistake I see in my coaching clients who otherwise have solid rapport: they go too “flat” when they are listening to the candidate’s story. They are typically fairly engaged with great rapport when delivering their questions but that rapport energy drops off a cliff when they start listening.

This is why when it comes to rapport, we always say “be fascinated” and typically suggest the following tactical mantra: “smile, nod, and vocalize.”

But there is an energetic mindset at play here that I want to make more explicit: if you are at 100/100 “energy level” when talking or delivering your questions, try your best to hover at around 20 or 30 on the energy scale when you are in listening mode.

Too many interviewers unintentionally damage rapport by “sitting back” and passively listening to the candidate’s story. Maybe they think they are being polite and giving the candidate space, but what often happens is the candidate feels that you are bored.

Remember, a job interview is one of the most vulnerable situations that someone can be in, so all of your reactions can and will be interpreted through a lens that is more anxious and sensitive than it normally would be. Smiling, nodding, and vocalizing will help to reassure the candidate that you are “there with them” and actively involved in the conversation. They will feel less alone and more connected to you.

There is a corollary to the above point: when you are actively “in there” with the candidate from an energetic standpoint, it helps to break down the default posture of an interview as one where the interviewer asks a question and then sits back to judge the candidate’s performance. That is absolutely not what we want: we don’t want the candidate spinning and performing in response to our questions! We want the candidate so connected to us, so ensconced in a high-rapport, judgment-free zone, that they can just tell us the truth about their past stories. And being an active energetic participant is one of the keys to making that happen.

UPCOMING: We’ve got a free webinar on March 7th: “What Interview Questions Should I Ask?” and you can register here. Please feel free to share this invite with anyone who you feel might benefit from our approach to interviewing and hiring.

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