Menon, who’s at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, and Thompson, who’s at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, say that they often see MBAs who are “too smooth” with their replies, firing into a canned, rehearsed response as soon as the interviewer has finished their question.
It’s better, they say, to take a moment, then pluck a few key words from your interviewer’s question and have your answer depart from there. To paraphrase positive psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, you’re getting out of your cocoon and attuning to the other. If I’m interviewing someone for a story, I want to show them that I’m closely attending to what they’re saying, which will lead to them opening up more and a richer, more revealing conversation.) Listening builds trust, and people tend to like people they cantrust.
And it’s expensive and it’s difficult and it’s time-consuming, but without that, we can never really learn what works and what doesn’t work.Under those conditions, you have no way to learn whether, for example, the people you think are worse will actually be better than people you think are good. The solution is from time to time to hire people you don’t think would work out.Now I know it sounds strange, it sounds crazy and it sounds expensive. But the idea is, you interview somebody and you say, "I don’t think the person will work out. And I will give them a chance and in a year I’ll see whether I was right or wrong." And if you were right and your gut intuition was true from the interview, you wasted salary on somebody for a year, but if you got it wrong, now you might go and say, "You know what, maybe my intuition about who is right and who is wrong are not so good.For women to have fun dating and perhaps find the ideal partner, they should not be afraid to show their feminine side.After all, that what men like about us in the first place!But if you take that model and then you add an interview to it, you actually do worse. Because you interview somebody that went to the same university than you and say, "Oh, those statistics are not important, what’s important is that he has gone to this good university." And you interview somebody that has the same religion as you and you say, "Oh these things are unimportant, what’s important is he has the right moral fibre, like people from my religion." And you interview somebody else and they are blonde and you say, "They are so attractive, other things don’t matter." So what happens is that when we have an interview and rely on that interview, we shift our criteria for every person trying to have this flexibility and that first eliminates our ability to be accurate, to have any accuracy, and the second thing, it hinders our ability to learn from experience about what works and what doesn’t work.The other really interesting thing about interviewing is that we rarely, rarely try to actively test whether our models are correct or not correct.Other management research has shown that absent of explicit hiring standards, hiring managers use themselves as the proxy of worthiness for a position — which is part of why companies hire the same type of person over and over again.So in that way, a job interview is a lot like a first date: You’re establishing a connection, finding common ground, and in doing so, validating the person across the table and making yourself memorable tothem.But the thing about humans is that we’re wired to be lazy.As the Nobel Prize–winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman observed, a “law of least effort” governs not just physical tasks, but mental ones.