Mirroring is an interview technique that can be used by candidates to reflect the behaviours of your interviewer, aiming to build rapport with them. By building a relationship of trust and mutual understanding, you’ll be able to communicate more naturally and confidently with your interviewer and will make them feel as if you’re on the same page.
Building rapport is an essential part of job interviews as you aren’t only being assessed on your skills and experiences, but also on who you are as a person, and how well you’d fit in with the company culture. Whilst it’s important to prepare for the questions that an interviewer might ask you, it’s also important to think about how you’re going to establish a positive relationship with them, and how you’re going to convey your personality.
In this article, we discuss what mirroring looks like in practice, and when you should and shouldn’t use this technique in your next pharma job interview.
What Does Mirroring Look Like in Practice?
We use mirroring subconsciously all the time with friends and family. The reason we’re able to do it subconsciously is that in these situations, we’re communicating with people we’re familiar with, so mirroring becomes a natural part of the interaction. With job interviews often being nerve-wracking and unfamiliar situations for candidates, it’s not something you’re able to do as naturally, so in these scenarios, mirroring requires some conscious thought.
To help build a more natural and open connection with your interviewer, pay attention to the following things, and try to subtly reflect – rather than mimic – them in your next pharma job interview:
If your interviewer sits up straight and doesn’t seem to change their posture often, be wary of moving around too much and try to maintain a similarly formal posture, without being too stiff. If they do relax during the interview, instead of copying this straight away, leave it a few minutes before you relax too.
Listen to how fast or slow your interviewer talks and try to match their pace. You shouldn’t try to copy them exactly, especially if they use a pace that you aren’t used to, but do take note of their pace and what it could mean. If they speak quickly, this could be an indicator that they’re in a rush to finish the interview, so you may want to be more concise and to the point in your answers.
Pay attention to how your interviewer asks their questions. If they speak softly, be wary of speaking too loudly as this may come across as being intimidating.
Listen to the types of language your interviewer uses, and try to match this where you can. This technique is known as Linguistic Style Matching and can help build rapport with your interviewer by creating a stronger common ground. It will also help to make the conversation flow more cohesively.
If you notice that your interviewer is using more conversational or emotive language rather than formal, informative language and corporate jargon, matching this will make the conversation between you run smoother, as you’ll both be on the same page.
Look out for specific gestures your interviewer uses when they speak. Maybe your interviewer tilts their head whilst they think, or maybe they use a specific hand gesture whilst they talk. Mirror these behaviours where you can, being careful not to overdo them.
When Should I Use Mirroring?
You don’t need to mirror every single one of your interviewer’s behaviours, nor should you do it every time you speak. Overusing the technique can come across as mocking to your interviewer, and this won’t help you build rapport with them. Also make sure to only mirror their positive dispositions, and to focus on displaying your own positive behaviours to encourage your interviewer to mirror you too.
It’s a good idea to only try out the technique once you’ve settled into the interview, and once you feel comfortable in the situation. You shouldn’t let it distract you from what the interviewer is saying, so only focus on mirroring once you’re sure that it won’t get in the way of your verbal answers.
Practice Before Your Interview
Don’t try out the mirroring technique for the first time in your interview. Take your time practising with friends to make sure your interactions are as natural as they can be before you take this technique to your next pharma job interview.
Use it Wisely…
When done well, mirroring can really help you to build up trust with your interviewer and make them feel that you’d complement the company culture. Remember to be an echo of their body language rather than a direct copycat, and to appear as natural as possible throughout your interview.
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