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Trust is at the heart of job interviews

30 August 2021

When you step back and look, there are patterns and rhythms to every type of conversation.

Some conversations are tennis matches with each person trying to score a point with each return.  Some conversations are puzzles where you try to fit what seem like odd bits of information into a collective whole.  Other conversations are negotiations where each person slowly reveals a little more about their needs.  And once you start looking there are lots of these types of patterns.

A pattern I see in job interview conversations is one of trust.  The interviewee wants the employer to trust what they say.  The interviewer wants to be convinced to trust.

Trust gets extended when two questions get answered.  These questions in the order they are subconsciously asked are:

Does this person care about me? (and about the job, and what we are trying to achieve)
Does this person have the competence to act upon their level of caring?

The answers to these two questions results in the follow levels of trust:
Care and Competence
As you can see, care comes first.

For this reason the pattern of a job interview conversation works best when it follows the pattern of first communicating that you care about what they care about, before you convince them of your competence.

How this looks when answering a job interview question is to first start by talking about why the topic of the question is important to you, and why you think it is important to them (the employer). This requires you to be a bit vulnerable, because it requires you to put a line in the sand and say "This matters to me, and this is why it matters to me..."

As always, wishing you a flourishing career.


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