Sizing Up the Competition: The Do’s & Don’ts

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Whether you are walking into a nightclub or even simply walking down the street, it is almost human nature to look somebody up and down. Furthermore, one time or another, you probably have asked yourself, “What does that person have that I don’t have?” Well, in an interview, a scenario of sizing-up is probably even more common.


Sizing up the competition while sitting among the nervous yet astute interviewees is just part of process. However, there is a clear difference between someone who is honestly wondering where the others earned their degrees, where they are employed or worked before, what certifications they possess, etc., and someone that displays their internal dialogue on their face. You know the type, clenched lips, standoffish demeanor, may roll their eyes intermittently, have their arms tightly wrapped around their portfolio/briefcase, have their nose slightly turned up to the ceiling, etc.


So what is the best way to deal with the pervasive sizer-upper? Your first instinct should be to not give them the time of day—especially in an interview situation. The pervasive sizer-upper is trying to get in your head, distract you from the task at hand and make you doubt yourself. Second, killing a pervasive sizer-upper with kindness is an excellent option. The old adage, “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer,” sums up the reasoning behind killing someone with kindness. Basically, smiling, saying hello, engaging in small, meaningless chitchat can perplex the pervasive sizer-upper. However, be weary of letting your guard down because pervasive sizer-uppers have a tendency to pounce at any given moment. Also, never give away any strategic information about your career, schooling, on-the-job experience, etc. because divulging such information may come back to bite you in the butt. Revealing such information is like give a dog a bone: It’s something that pervasive sizer-uppers will chew on, play with and eventually bury in their minds for a later date or even worse to use during the interview.


All in all, remember that you only need to sell yourself during the actual interview and not to the other interviewees. Be confident in your skills, work experience and social charms, because confidence is the best way to ward off those pesky pervasive sizer-uppers and land your next job.

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