We hear a lot about how to act the part in job interviews. We’re advised about what to wear, what questions to ask, how firmly to shake hands, when to arrive to the job site, how to follow up, and on and on.
Each of these aspects of interviewing is important in its own right, but today I’d like to shift the attention to something I find very important but rarely talked about: How to be likable in the eyes of your interviewer.
When it comes down to it, few employers will hire someone with an overly bland or off-putting personality, even if that person has exceptional credentials. To avoid being labeled in this fashion, follow these three simple tips:
Be on your A-game from the moment you leave for the interview
From smoking in the parking lot to being nervous or rude in front of a receptionist, you have no idea what will turn off a prospective employer. There are even stories of people driving angrily on the way to the interview, only to be interviewed by the person they honked at or cut off. The moral of the story? Be the best version of you from the moment you leave for the interview.
Mimic the company culture without being fake
Employers want to hire someone who is a good fit culturally just as much—if not more—than someone with the right qualifications, so make it easy for the hiring manager to see why you’re a great cultural fit.
For instance, if the company is heavy into philanthropy, be certain to work your volunteer experience into the interview discussion. If it’s the type of business that loves working dusk ’til dawn, talk about a project where you tirelessly poured your heart and soul.
It might not feel like it when you’re nervous and there’s a lot riding on your interview, but the hiring manager is, in fact, a real person. And do you know what real people tend to like? Cordial, non-confrontational situations with people they can trust. One of the most effective ways to foster this feeling is quite simple—smile.
As Ramon Santillon points out in this article on how smiling can help you land a job, “Smiling helps us determine that the person we are dealing with is friendly and possibly a team player—both traits that are important for the survival of the species and, coincidentally, also important for completing TPS reports at the office.”
What are your tips for being a likable job candidate?