In business and in life, copying someone’s behavior can build a rapport. In an interview setting, that might work against you if the interviewer is annoyed.
The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology explains how an interviewer’s mood can change the mood of the applicant:
interviewer tone had a significant indirect effect on applicant performance through its influence on applicant tone. Nonconscious behavioral mimicry of negative behaviors occurs in social interactions, is not always associated with positive outcomes
This study was small—only 54 participants—but the results are a little common sense, though you might forget in the heat of the moment. The key is to be conscious that the interviewer may be changing your tone or behavior. If they aren’t “into” the interview, don’t let that change your attitude. Stay upbeat and positive even if the person on the other side of the table has a case of the Mondays.
The tongue-tied chameleon: The role of nonconscious mimicry in the behavioral confirmation process | Journal of Experimental Social Psychology via Science of us
Photo by the half-blood prince.