16 Mar Nail your interview, Part II: Interact and connect
Now that you’ve channeled your interview anxiety into productive prep (see our last blog post here), let’s talk about winning over the crowd with your sparkling personality.
An interview is not black and white; there’s much more to the process than simply choosing the applicant with the most experience and skill. All else being equal, people want to work with people they like. Given similar skills and background, which applicant would be the easiest to get along with on a day-to-day basis? Which applicant will fit in best with the current team members and work culture? It never hurts to increase your appeal as a candidate by offering a likeable personality in addition to your strong skillset.
The beginning of the interview is a great time for the interviewer and the interviewee to get to know each other better as people and find common ground. Nothing dramatic needs to happen here, just natural conversation with good flow. Be pleasant, be engaging, and don’t be afraid to show a little bit of your personality during the interview. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to appear so perfect that the company doesn’t truly get to see who you are. It is possibly to be the ultimate professional while also being friendly and engaging.
If the position in question involves managing a team or frequent interaction with customers, strong people skills will be a significant factor. Even if the position involves minimal face-to-face interaction with others, good communication skills are important. Show that you are warm and friendly by offering a smile as you meet your interviewer. Show that you are good at reading people by paying attention to your interviewer’s non-verbal cues. Does your interviewer seem interested? Does he/she seem bored? Adjust as necessary, avoiding long-winded responses and injecting a bit more life into your answers if needed.
It’s easy to get intimidated and forget this, but interviewers are regular people, just like you. They are real people with their own unique profiles of strengths of weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Ask questions and show them that you actually care to listen to their answers. Express interest in what they do and how they do it. Try to find out what they’re looking for and how you can meet their needs. Demonstrating genuine interest in others helps build connection and rapport. A great interview often feels like a good conversation between like-minded people.
Putting in the effort to interact with your interviewer and ask questions can benefit you even if you don’t get the job. You will leave with a better understanding of what makes these companies tick and how you need to adjust your preparation to rock your next interview.
Stay tuned for our next blog post to learn practical tips and strategies for successful conversations during your interview.