Two Harvard researchers, Nalini Ambady and Robert Rosenthal studied nonverbal aspects of teachers, by having observers rate instructor effectiveness from 10 second silenced video clips. When Ambady ran a second 15 item personality rating based on just 5 second clips, the ratings were the same. They were the same when she showed just 2 second clips. And they were the same as end of semester teacher evaluations. Ambady found that we make snap personality judgments in just a couple of seconds – literally in a snap.
Frank Bernieri, a University of Toledo Psychologist trained grad students to act as job interviewers, and taped the interviews. He then showed the first 20 to 32 seconds to observers – just enough to show the handshake and greeting. The observers then used the same 6 page evaluation as the interviewers to rate each applicant. The surprising results: “On nine out of the eleven traits the applicants were being judged on, the observers significantly predicted the outcome of the interview,” Bernieri says. “The strength of the correlations was extraordinary.”
“In social psychology, there is an amazing amount of literature and research that show that once we have any expectation, once we have any working theory, any working hypothesis, we are biased in the way we process information,” Bernieri said. “We go out of our way to seek confirming evidence. However, in our minds, we think we’re being analytical and processing the whole time. So by the time we finish, we think our judgments are based on the data.””People do judge books by their covers,” Bernieri concluded. “First impressions are going to predict final impressions.”
Do these findings floor you?
So how do you take this information to make it work for you?
The Easy, Basic, Obvious Stuff That Everybody Does:
- Confidently walk to the interviewer
- Shake firmly with dry palms
- Look the person in the eyes while shaking and smiling
- Don’t chew gum, don’t smell of cigarettes, body odor or too much cologne
- Slightly overdress for the interview in clean clothes and shiny shoes
- Dress like the Romans do (http://recareered.blogspot.com/2008/03/what-to-wear-acing-interview-part-1.html).
But most job seekers already know these tactics….so most serious candidates do the same thing. What can you do to stand out?
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