First impressions are critical during a job interview. Knowing exactly what is being evaluated can help you best present yourself.
Amy Cuddy, Harvard psychologist and author of Presence, shows how your body language influences others and even changes the way you see yourself. Social scientists have shown that we make sweeping inferences and judgements based on body language, judgements that can predict meaningful life outcomes like who we hire and who we trust.
In Presence, Ms. Cuddy reveals that we have the power to affect how others see us simply by changing body positions. Cuddy says that people quickly answer two questions when they first meet you:
- Can I trust this person?
- Can I respect this person?
Cuddy says that most people, especially in a professional context, believe that competence is the more important factor. But in fact, warmth, or trustworthiness, is the most important factor in how people evaluate you. While competence is highly valued, Cuddy says that it is evaluated only after trust is established. And focusing too much on displaying your strength can backfire.
She says that some people are often so concerned about coming across as smart and competent that it they come off as unapproachable.
As I prepare candidates for interviews I stress the importance of presentation. This not only includes dressing appropriately but also body language aka non-verbal communication. So as you prepare for your next interview never underestimate the importance warmth and trustworthiness play in how the hiring manager or human resources person will evaluate you.