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Here's how to be likable in your interview

Jun 10, 2019

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There are a lot of moving parts involved in the job search process, and many of them are moving on two feet. Yet, they don't just include candidates you're competing against or senior decision makers you want to impress. Because your potential new co-workers will also have an affect on your candidacy.

During your interview, a hiring manager isn't only assessing whether or not you possess the experience and skills needed to do the job, they're also looking for the types of traits that demonstrate you'll fit in with the rest of the team while doing your job. 

Likability is the #1 hiring factor, so if you're interviewing with a company whose vision, mission and corporate culture is one you want to be a part of, here are 10 ways to demonstrate likable traits:  

 1. Be Punctual 
Hiring managers admit to knowing within 90 seconds if they want to continue with your candidacy, and if you're late for your interview, some probably won't need that long.

Parking and transit is unpredictable, so plan to arrive in the area of the interview 20 minutes prior to the start time and checking in with reception or security 10 minutes before you're scheduled to meet.

Punctuality is also an indication of your work habits and shows respect, reliability and discipline. 

2. Dress appropriate  
Are you interviewing at a start-up or a corporate company? The type of business you’re applying to will affect the business of choosing your outfit. Put your best foot forward by knowing the company's culture first. Check its website and social media profiles for an indication of the dress code, and then dress one notch above everyone else.  You don't want to be too high fashion though; 70 per cent of surveyed hiring managers have admitted to dismissing a candidate within that first 90 seconds because they were dressed too trendy.

3. Smile
Thirty eight per cent of hiring managers also admit to dismissing a candidate who didn't smile or show confidence. So, appear approachable and friendly by flashing those pearly whites even before the conversation begins. 

4. Make eye contact
When you're looking the interviewer in the eye, it shows your interest in the conversation and company. 

Eyes have a habit of expressing our thoughts and feelings, and how can a hiring manager know you're excited about the opportunity if you're looking out the window? Don't get your candidacy dismissed because a lack of eye contact made you seem dismissive. 

5. Form a connection
After you've made it past the initial intake, it's time to make a connection. It doesn't have to be something big, just a little conversation starter that will help set the vibe. For instance, he or she will likely begin by making small talk about your commute into the office (it's typical human behaviour). And this may uncover that you both live in the same area or take a similar route.  Isn't construction the worst on King Street right now?!  Or, hopefully your pre-interview research helped you uncover other commonalities. Maybe LinkedIn informed you that the hiring manager attended the same college or university as you.... GO GATORS! ( Do you see where we're going here?)

6. Listen
Sometimes candidates get so caught up in their practiced or rehearsed responses that they fail to hear the questions that are actually being asked.  Resist these urges! Instead, pay attention to what's being discussed and the direct questions that are being asked. 

7. Be enthusiastic- not desperate
There are fine lines in interviews: being confident without appearing cocky, appearing relaxed vs. "too cool," and demonstrating an eagerness for the role without seeming desperate for employment. Even if you really, like really, need the job, avoid implying that fact.

8. Be informed
During your first round interview, have informed questions prepared that are directly related to the position, company culture and future goals of the organization. Leave inquiries about financial compensation or company perks for later discussions. Remember, your goal is to demonstrate that you're interested in being a part of the business and team, and not in the benefits of working there.

9. Don't be overly buddy-buddy 
Of course you want to appear friendly, but even if you feel as though the interview is going really well, don't dive into full on buddy-buddy mode. There's a professional line that's drawn in interviews, and the best candidates respect the boundaries. There's a difference between mentioning the new restaurant that opened up in the neighbourhood and asking the interviewer if they want to grab a drink there later. 

10. Be personable
Although you should always display a professional demeanor, let your personality shine as you discuss your skills and experience. Because when you're passionate about what's being discussed, it's impossible for others not to notice and want to be around your positive energy.

And here's the best not so secret tip: Being likable is just all about being your best self. Are you working with a staffing agency to find your next opportunity? 

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