Sunday, December 04, 2005

How to Get People to Like You in the First 90 Seconds

That was the title of a book I picked up on one of my last days working at the library. I skimmed through one chapter, and the principle was a simple one. Be like people. Do whatever it is they do. Match mannerisms, touch on the topics they talk about, etc. People like people they're like, according to this author.

So I decided to try that out during my job interview, because what the hey?

The secretary at the desk was a demure girl with an apologetic smile. I matched it, stating who I was and saying that I was "just" there for my interview.

She smiled slightly warmlier (warmerly?) and said to wait one second, then went in search of whoever it was that was going to give the interview.

Barbara emerged a moment later. Or maybe I should say she erupted. She was wearing a muumuu that was louder and more floral than an ibex stampede through and Alpine meadow. And her neck. Her neck bounced her head around flacidly like one of those stupid dashboard bulldogs. I suppose she thought she was nodding enthusiastically, but it looked more like some sort of disorder. Slinkineckitis. Now, I had already resolved to be like her, so I started in.

I moved my head up and down and up and down and around and around like I was trying to get water out of my ears or something. Her own bobble head kept moving even more sporadically than mine. After a little bit I noticed that her head didn't merely go up and down, but in a bit of an orbit, like the way the north pole goes in little circles on its way around the sun. So I threw that in, too. I also matched her Jewish-talkshow-hostess breeziness, and smiled confidently after everything I said, like I just knew she was going to love it and might even be considering writing me a little "thank-you" note for saying such wonderful things. After all, that seemed to be the reaction she expected from me.

The thought did fleetly flitter through my mind that maybe she really did have some sort of disease, and what if she thought I was mocking her. Then I realized that if it were a disease, she'd have no way of knowing that I didn't as well. If she just couldn't control how she moved her head, then she'd have to assume that neither could I. Besides, maybe my head during that interview was the only thing in her world that wasn't moving up and down all the time. Maybe it was a relief to her to see such a level-headed young man when all the world around her seemed to be moving up and down like a storm-tossed ship at sea. Okay, probably not. But SOMETHING worked.

At the end of the interview she offered me two dollars per hour more than they pay the other employees, because, as she said, she had "a good feeling about" me. Then she handed me a blank piece of paper and a pencil and instructed me to write my own schedule. So now I work when it's most convenient for me, and I love it. I'll have to remember to tell you about the retards in orientation. But that, my friends, is a story for another day.


вџн said...

ooh I learned about this at school. Except for that neck thing, that might have been a little over the top. I like how she had the Jewish talkshow hostess thing going on. I've never seena Jewish talkshow, but I bet I still know what you mean anyway!

Oh man.. going to bed at 5am and getting up at 9:30am is a little tiring. I'm one sleepy buh.

Chris said...

This story is an inspiration to me. I've used the same technique before, but it's only worked with energetic women, like at my Los Hermanos interview. All a guy has to do to get a job there is to flirt with the owner's wife during the interview. Unfortunately, I haven't learned to pull the same thing with guys, and all of the HR people that I interview with these days seem to be weird, kinda quiet men. I need to check out a copy of that book.

Muse said...

I am happy to oblige your request.

And way to go on the interview thing.

red leader said...

its perfect! what are you doing at the new job?? ps im going to be watching season 5 of 24 with some friends from los... thought you might like to be a part of the action. call me.

Sara Bear said...

one good turn deserves another...

so, my friend, I will totally try that method at work, as I sell scented candles and candle accessories.

Congratulations on your job.