Think of your job interview as a conversation or your first meeting with new colleagues. This is the attitude you want to adapt. Your goal is to be natural and to be yourself. If you try to adapt an attitude of the perfect employee, it’s usually a sign that you are overwhelmed, have prepared way too much your answers or are not comfortable in your skin.
Hiring managers and HR Directors are not looking for robots to fulfil the job. They don’t only want a person who has memorised the perfect answer, who was the smartest in their class and who speaks the most languages. They want a person is likeable too. How can you show that you are likeable in a job interview?
Top 6 ways to be likeable to the interviewer:
- Give examples to illustrate that you have the competencies and soft skills which are listed on their job description. Show that you are analytical, communicative, collaborative, are a team worker, can work under pressure, are a good planner….etc etc Since we can’t measure that you are a good communicator, we need you to prove it through some simple past examples. For example, “I was working on a strategic project with a tight deadline. I launched it by not only writing a detailed project plan (with timings, estimates, resources, risks, resources, budget) and launching by email, stating clearly what each person was going to contribute and what were the expectations from each team member, but then I also set up face to face meetings to ensure that this written plan was well understood and feasible for each person and that they clearly understood how they would be measured for their participation and success.”
- Be vulnerable. This means to show that you make errors. Be real. Be aware of your weaknesses and make sure that they were consequential and effected your job and performance. Hiring managers don’t get stuck on what your actual weakness may be. We just want make sure have them. You are aware of them. And you are human.
- Be genuine. Tell personal stories which are relevant to the job. Practice what you want the interviewer to know about you but without sounding like a monotone bore.
- Study the “work culture” of the environment. What do the founders and employees really believe in? Is it play hard work hard? Is it stability and balance with the family and work? Is it your work is your life? Is the culture open and flat? Is there much philanthropy? Is conflict allowed? How are meetings generally run? Is the atmosphere open and casual? Or hierarchal and formal? Try to find this out by meeting with a colleague who works there before your job interview. Also check out what people say on www.glassdoor.com.
- Brag Intelligently. Show with ease that yes, you are the person who can fulfil this job. Be arrogant by bragging. But brag by giving concrete details about your contribution. Give examples that show that you are the expert. Explain your specific knowledge related to the domain. And do this with some passion and a smile on your face. All too often, I coach people who are afraid of ‘being too arrogant’. The whole point of the job interview is to sell yourself quickly by being able to recognise and discuss your achievements. And if this is just impossible for you to do, you can always respond with, “my manager said this about me…..”or my colleague observed that I react or respond or analyse this way…”
- Ask questions about the job content, not about what the company can offer you. For example, if you are a project manager, interviewing for a job as project manager, you can ask this, “What are average cycle times for the projects from initiation to completion?” How many stakeholders are usually involved in the final project acceptance and ‘buy-in’? Are the Directors currently aligned on the current project portfolio or are there many disagreements? “What is the current focus / priority in your project portfolio right now?”The point is, to ask questions, that show that you are in effect, a real project manager. We see this by the type of questions you are asking. Only ask these questions at the end when the interviewer asks you, ‘do you have any questions?’
Erica Elias is a certified business and career coach (www.interviewnow.be) and has interviewed more than 6,000 people, with www.mindworks.be. She is also an author and her books can be found on these links: https://www.diekeure.be/nl-be/professional/1434/recruitment-a-z and https://www.amazon.com/Interviewing-Global-Economy-Multinational-Corporation/dp/147833536X