Article written for The Philippine Courier, March 2006
I was just reading a book titled “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell and I was intrigued by the provoking thoughts and researches done on the role of intuition in our daily lives. A very engaging book that supports my hunch, pun intended, that thin-slicing plays a significant role in the process of selection and hiring. So much for the guidelines, standards, or criteria – people do hire based on their gut instinct if a candidate would work well with the hiring manager or not. All things being equal, managers would hire someone they like first and foremost and thin-slicing is an essential factor to this.
Almost everyone would tell you that you have to look nice and professional and well dressed and well groomed for an interview. Correct! They would tell you to put your best foot forward. That’s right! But has someone told you that an interviewer could see beyond your physical looks and mannerisms and speech? They have been unknowingly trained and “unconsciously” well experienced in thin-slicing. Most of them are not aware of it but they do. So you don’t only need to look your best, you’ve got to be your real best self and wear your really winning attitude.
However, don’t crucify yourself when you go to an interview and you felt that you did your best and you’re perfect for the position and you don’t get the job. The recruiter’s decision to select another candidate sometimes does not tell about your lack of skill or something you did wrong. All things being equal, another candidate gets the job because the recruiter “felt something right about the other one” while you seem to be perfect but there’s something that does not fit and the recruiter “could not quite put his or her finger on it”.
Intuition plays a bigger role in recruitment than what recruiters would care to admit. What is this telling you as an applicant or as a candidate for a position? Establishing rapport, being in the same vibes, thinking on the same plane, being the same mind; matters a lot in an interview. I remember one time when I was being interviewed for a position and towards the end of it, the interviewer blurted out: ”I can tell that you’re the type of person who naturally loves people. I will have the VP interview you for a position that she might have available”. I don’t know how she got that impression. In as much as it was true, I did not consciously try to put it across during the conversation with her. Unfortunately, I did not have the same rapport with the second interviewer. She said: “I don’t know what she (first interviewer) has seen in you but she recommends you highly…”
Thus, when in a job search, not only do you have to continue to hone your skills and find opportunities to gain experience. Try to recognize your real interests and inclinations and engage in activities that would allow your passion to unfold. Your zeal and excitement would shine through in an interview in a more subconscious manner; i.e., when a topic comes up and your eyes glitter and your level of enthusiasm rises a notch and your interviewer gets engaged with you more deeply in the conversation. Then you know: you’re able to establish rapport, which could get you a long, long way.