8 Ways To Be Likeable & Confident At Interviews
Human Resource staff are humans too — and humans have a tendency to gravitate towards others with whom we feel a strong rapport.
Two major factors that determine whether we will feel a connection to someone else are their “likeability” and sense of “confidence”.
Likeability is defined as “having qualities that bring about a favorable regard”. It means that we feel at ease with someone, and associate them with positive emotions like joy, laughter, and excitement.
Confidence, on the other hand, is “the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something”. When someone appears confident, we have more confidence in them and give them more trust.
So if you’re about to interview for your next potential job, then here are 8 ways you can boost both your likeability and confidence to get them excited about trusting you with the role!
1. Practice your answer to this open-ended question
One of the most common interview questions, which often serves as an opener/ice-breaker, is:
“Tell us a little bit about yourself”
Because this isn’t a yes-or-no question, or one that asks you to answer in a specific format, some interviewees can struggle to figure out how best to reply.
For starters, take the question at face value: a “bit” of information is all you need to build into your reply. Don’t start going through your whole resume, or your entire autobiography. Focus on your overall career, and what you’re passionate about.
By adding what you love about this industry, or what drove you to get into it, you can make your answer more personal.
Don’t forget to work in a few facts about the value you bring to the table. This could be a highlight of a time you did excellent work that you’re proud of, or a goal that you aspire to that you’re currently crushing (and how).
2. Coffee, anyone?
There’s an easy trick to switching your tone to something more personal and friendly, without losing your professionalism:
Pretend you’re just talking to a friend over coffee or tea.
Some job candidates will try too hard to be formal, which can result in them being very stiff and unemotional. But when you speak without emotion, people find it hard to maintain interest, and can even find it harder to understand you.
That’s why being animated, using hand gestures and facial expressions, and speaking with an excited, dynamic tone will make a stronger and more honest impression. Just the way you talk with friends!
3. Say cheese!
Nowadays, you’re more than likely to encounter a video interview as part of your application process.
This can be either a live video call, or a pre-recorded video submission.
In both cases, without another person in the room, it can be hard to act naturally. That’s why you should take time to practice with video software until it becomes second nature!
A key component is to make sure your video setup allows you to make eye contact with the camera, or very near to it. In fact, some companies will use software that reviews your recording and makes assessments about your personality — including the amount of eye contact you make!
Make sure you are well-lit too, so that your facial expressions are clearly visible. And frame yourself well so you can gesticulate with your hands while you speak without going out of frame.
4. Dress to impress
They say to dress for the job you want, but you should also dress to make them want you for the job!
It is absolutely okay to add a bit of flair to your outfit. That doesn’t mean revealing clothes, or scandalous graphics on your shirt.
It just means you shouldn’t be afraid to add a splash of colour, or an interesting accent piece, or an unusual (yet appropriate) accessory.
The way you present yourself physically is one of the first things people look for when making judgements about your personality. So don’t let your wardrobe be boring — or they might think you are too!
5. Reveal something personal
Did you know that one of the most effective negotiating tactics is to start by saying something personal?
It helps to humanize you and get the other person to feel an emotional connection to you — whether you’re negotiating with a kidnapper or a hiring manager, it works just as well!
This could be as simple as a personal fact or anecdote, like how many kids you have or where your family went on your last vacation.
But you can also reveal something more professional. Even talking about a major career mistake in the right way can not only offer insight into your career and how you handle adversity, but also show that you’re willing to really open up and connect with the person across the table.
6. Don’t be sorry
This one pertains particularly to appearing confident.
If your abilities are called into question, such as a lack of experience or frequent job transitions, don’t apologize for it.
If you’ve come this far, you must believe you have what it takes to do the job. By standing firm behind your beliefs, they’ll be more likely to believe in you too.
Try turning a particular weakness into a strength. For example, if you lack experience, emphasize that you have no bad habits and are willing to learn.
Or if they ask about your job changes, say you are determined to find the right fit where you can excel. A company whose values really resonate with yours, so that you can help push them forward in the best way possible.
7. Interview them
Not literally, of course. But you shouldn’t fall into the mindset that you are powerless in the situation.
Too many interviewees act as though they are at the mercy of their interviewer, and give them all the power in the conversation. It’s much better to act like it is a two-way conversation, where you are comfortable and relaxed instead of under pressure.
Try to focus on making sure that both you and the employer are a good match. Don’t simply pander to what you think they want to hear. Connect the dots between who you really are, and what they really want.
8. Get philosophical
When it comes to discussing your past job experience, especially around questions like:
“What was a time you experienced a difficult situation at work, and how did you resolve it?”
It is important to not just explain your process, but the philosophy behind it.
This means explaining your rationale for acting a certain way. And that should tie in to your overall professional approach to work in general; ideas like “I wanted the best resolution for everyone” or “I always take the approach that will most protect the company interests” or even “I don’t believe in taking shortcuts”.
These not only give them a glimpse of your personality, but also how you would approach problems at work from a high-level perspective. And it shows that you have confidence in your tried-and-true approach.
Likeability and confidence are two key factors in unlocking your career potential.
For more tips and tricks to handle interviews (and beyond!) be sure to check back for weekly articles, or talk to META today for 1-on-1 coaching, completely free!