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Expand Your Cultural Comfort Zone

Newsletter • volume 1 • number 7

Have you ever been in an interview situation where you experienced discomfort with the candidate because of some difference between the two of you? Interviewing a Diverse Workforce participants learn to recognize this feeling and how to expand their cultural comfort zone in order to remain objective as interviewers. How do you expand your cultural comfort zone? Here is one way:

Let's say an unexpected event occurs that causes you to react, such as a candidate avoiding direct eye contact. Your reaction is to feel uncomfortable. What are your thoughts? If you continue feeling uncomfortable, you are either making negative statements to yourself or asking negative questions. However, at this point, you have a choice:

(1) you can continue in a negative mindset, in which case, you must learn to "get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable" to stay objective, or (2) you can learn to use positive or neutral statements and questions.

Positive or neutral statements and questions keep you open to making the most of this event or situation thereby allowing you to understand diversity.

The following example illustrates your choices. A candidate walks into an interview and gives each of three interviewers a handshake while avoiding any direct eye contact. The first interviewer comments to himself, "I don't trust this guy." The second interviewer asks herself, "What's wrong with him?" The third interviewer thinks, "That's interesting." Who will be the most likely to quickly expand their cultural comfort zone?