In An Interview, Being Likable Is Sometimes Better Than Having All The Right Skills

In An Interview, Being Likable Is Sometimes Better Than Having All The Right Skills


By Jack Kelly

You’d like to believe that a manager only hires the person who possesses all the right requirements for the job. Sadly, it’s not that straightforward.

While it’s important to have the right skills, prior experience and requisite knowledge, there are often intangibles that managers seek. One of the most important traits that a hiring manager desires is the likeability of a candidate, both subconsciously and consciously. Hiring managers are only human. They want to like the person that they’ll spend over eight hours a day with.

You can have all of the necessary attributes to effectively succeed in the job—strong references and having attended top schools—but if the employers involved in the hiring process can’t connect with the interviewee on a personal level, they may hold off on extending an offer.  

This theory flies in the face of our sense of fairness. We all want to believe that the best, most well-suited person for the role gets the job based on their merits and expertise.   

However, think of yourself—would you rather hire a person who you genuinely like but needs some help easing into the role or a person you don’t particularly care for but possesses all of the required skills?

It doesn’t help matters that many interviewees believe that if they possess all of the right skills, then they don’t need to sell themselves. They feel that their work speaks for itself and that’s sufficient enough. This may be true, but it falls flat before interviewers.

Some people are naturally gifted in the art of likability. Others need some help. 

Here is how you can be more likable.

You want to make sure that you show up looking sharp, polished and in appropriate attire for the job. Arrive at the office early to freshen up. Be polite and offer generous compliments to everyone you meet along your way to the interviewer. They will report back that you are a nice person when asked. 

 Act genuinely interested in other people. Hopefully, you are indeed interested in others. Hyperfocus on the interviewer. This entails actively listening when she’s speaking. You need to avoid the temptation to interrupt, glance at your phone or allow yourself to get distracted. Make sure that it’s not all about you. Don’t hog the spotlight, cut off the interviewer or interject with long-winded and unrelated anecdotes.

Make eye contact with the interviewer. Don’t linger for too long or it will become uncomfortable for the person. Every once in a while, nod your head while she talks to show that you’re paying attention. Reiterate an important point that the manager said to highlight that you get what they’re saying. It shouldn’t be verbatim nor coming across robotic. Rather, it’s framing the interviewer’s statement and then adding a little to it to show that you’re both on the same wavelength.  

When you have a question to ask, do so. Don’t wait until the end of the interview. It will stress you out too much to hold onto questions until the very end. Interject questions organically when you see fit. Avoid bombarding her with too many questions, as it will start to get irritating.  

You need to be cognizant of your body language. You want to demonstrate warmth and openness. This means when you ask a question, do so nicely and not as if you’re an interrogator. Don’t sit stiffly with your arms crossed over your chest and a frown on your face. Smile when it’s appropriate. Don’t squirm or fidget in your seat. Don’t ever sigh, roll your eyes or rudely interrupt the person midspeech. 

Use the interviewer’s name from time to time when you talk. It creates an intimacy. You may have to tailor your speech pattern. If you are a fast talker and use foul language, whereas the interviewer has a different approach, respect the difference and take her lead. This is called mirroring the person’s actions. 

Always stay positive and upbeat in your language and mannerisms. Avoid any negative comments about past bosses and jobs. 

If you genuinely care about other people, you can master these techniques. The more you use these tips, the better and more natural you’ll get. People will like being around you. You’ll receive offers for promotions and get calls from recruiters as your reputation will precede you. This halo effect will imbue you with more confidence that will make you happier, which in turn will further enhance your likability factor.  



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