As a hiring manager how quickly can you determine the potential success of your job candidates during an interview? As a job candidate how fast can you demonstrate your potential for success? The answer for both parties is “pretty quickly”. That is if you determine success with the same measuring stick American voters use.
Read the titles of these two recent pieces. “Body language expert: Hillary Clinton owned the debate from the moment she walked on stage,” and “Here are the 2 main reasons Hillary Clinton looked presidential at the debate.”
What do you surmise was of most importance in determining who won the first Democratic Presidential debate based on those two headlines? One headline refers to the opinion of a body language expert and the other emphasizes how Hillary “looked”. Clearly appearance and presence make the largest impact in terms of influencing opinion.
The televised presidential debates for both parties really are nothing more than a live video job interview that we are privileged to watch from the comfort of our couches. Our goal should be to evaluate the candidates for competence but our opinions and decisions are influenced far more by other factors.
Dr. Nick Morgan, a communications coach to Fortune 50 companies and a body language expert said this in regards to Hillary Clinton’s performance. “I would say Hillary owned that debate from the moment she walked out. Of the five candidates, she was the one who walked out with confidence. Her body language was saying, “I own this stage.” Morgan goes on to say that Clinton conveyed warmth when she smiled and shook Bernie Sanders’ hand after he expressed his frustration over the email scandal surrounding Clinton’s campaign and this show of warmth was a big win for her.
According to the book “Friend or Foe” by Maurice Schweitzer Ph.D. and Adam Galinsky Ph.D., they note, “We trust warm people because we know they care about us and we trust competent people because they are credible, effective and efficient.”
If Ph.Ds. place so much emphasis on deciding a candidate’s potential through presence alone, how as a hiring manager can you now more effectively gauge candidates the minute they appear on a webcam or walk through your office door? According to this study conducted by an I/O psychologist, a candidate’s potential for success can be determined from a brief video interview. The experts’ comments above appear to corroborate this study’s findings. We humans have an ability to make sound evaluations of others in a short amount of time based on an individual’s physical attributes and demeanor. Before she even spoke a word the body language expert declared Clinton the winner solely on how she walked into the room.
As a candidate, what improvements can you make to your presence and attitude to better improve your hiring chances? How will you “own” the job interview the moment you walk into a hiring manager’s office? At least be glad you won’t also be compared to four other candidates sitting on either side of you.