Is there a best state of consciousness for selection interviewing? And are mental exercises — analogous to an athlete's ‘warming up’ just before an event — a practical way of achieving or enhancing it? This paper suggests some preliminary answers to these questions. It is in three parts. The first is a discussion of (a) effective listening and rapport and (b) a calm‐alert state of consciousness and ways of developing or enhancing it. Second, a mental exercise is described. It has, in theory', several attractive quantities, e.g. speed, low cost, and effects which wear off gradually and without habituation. Third, a pilot experiment on the exercise is evaluated, emphasising the many methodological problems in this area, e.g. selection of subjects, setting of the experiment and expectancy effects.
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