Science says your success in a job interview is determined in the first few minutes

HandshakeJustin Sullivan/GettyThe first few minutes of a job interview are crucial.

First impressions are really important. We all know that.

Research analysed by Monica Harris and Christopher Garris in “First Impressions” suggests that the opening minutes of an interview can make or break your chances at landing the job.

“A famous set of studies established that the success of an employment interview hinges on what transpires in the first few minutes of the encounter,” writes Professor Herminia Ibarra in “Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader.” “If both parties somehow establish some important common ground early on by noting, for example, that they share a hometown, an alma mater, or a common acquaintance, the chances that the interview will go well go up exponentially.”

The reason this happens is because we are hardwired to use “like me” indicators when forming an opinion of a newcomer. The more similarities, the more we like them. This natural tendency is difficult to overcome, even in an interview setting when companies are looking for diversity.

“Without common ground, it’s harder to relate to people,” writes Ibarra — and creating a relationship is just as important in an interview as displaying your skills and expertise.

She spoke with Business Insider and elaborated: “You’re there to transmit all the great things about who you are, but you’re also there to establish a relationship with the person with whom you’re talking to. Getting the balance right is an art.”

To nail those first few minutes of an interview, remember to be approachable, warm, and friendly in order to build a relationship. And if you have a commonality with your interviewer, play that card early on.

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