You’ve probably read about this dozens of times: mirroring your job interviewer is a subtle psychological technique for winning said interviewer over. Unfortunately, it can horribly backfire.
Researchers writing in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology say that mirroring a job interviewer who is using negative body language can sink your chances, and it can happen to you completely inadvertently. Researchers had fifty undergraduate students sit through a mock job interview, first having each one give a short speech about themselves and all their fake qualifications for their hypothetical job—they were also presumably asked about their biggest fake weakness. This was done so researchers could see the student’s normal tones.
Then, some students were paired with an interviewer who spoke in a negative tone (bored, cold, or hostile). The rest went with an interviewer who spoke in a neutral tone.
As you might expect, the students mostly matched their interviewer’s tones. For those matched with the neutral interviewer, this didn’t mean much. However, for those matched with the negative interview, this mean bored attitudes, less enthusiasm, and cold speech.
A different group of students, unaware of what the study was looking at, listened to tapes of all the interviews and rated the students paired with negative interviewers lower than the other students.
Since hostile job interviews are a real practice (and sometimes bored job interviewers are just a fact of life), we’d suggest that it’s time to become unflappable. Have you tried mindfulness meditation?