In most interviews, there is an important yet unspoken dynamic
lurking just beneath the surface. This dynamic is as old as the first
time humans eyeballed each other and opened their mouths to
grunt. Naturally, I’m talking about power. More specifically, I’m
talking about acknowledging the fact that, in the vast majority of
cases, the interviewer has the real power. (The exception to this is
when you are lucky enough to possess a unique set of skills and/or
knowledge that the employer is desperate to have.) If you are serious
about maximising your rapport, it’s important to demonstrate to
the interviewer that you understand they have all the power when
it comes to giving you the job.
As an interviewee, you too have power—primarily through the
fact that you control what the interviewer will hear. However, this
does not eliminate the reality that the power to hire (or not) lies
exclusively with the interviewer. Interviewees who acknowledge the
interviewer’s power stand a better chance of being liked (and therefore
winning the job) because, to put it bluntly, most human beings
have a weakness for feeling important and having their egos stroked.
Intuitively, many of us understand this dynamic but not everyone
proactively demonstrates it during the interview. An interviewer
may not even be aware of this dynamic (you can usually pick the
ones who enjoy their power), but this doesn’t mean it’s not there.