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Ask A Career Coach - Be Likeable When Interviewing


In a recent survey by Career Geek, 33 percent of 2,000 hiring managers said they knew within the first 90 seconds of a job interview whether they would hire the candidate or not.  You may find this statistic shocking, unbelievable, or unfair, but as a former Talent Manager, I can tell you that it is true.  How can you make the first 90 seconds of an interview, business or networking meeting count?   

For starters, be likeable when interviewing.  People want to work with people they like. From the minute you step foot into the company, conference room, or designated meeting place understand that you are being observed. Present yourself with confidence and be that likeable person.

Make eye contact, smile and greet everyone you come into contact with. If you have to wait in a reception area, do not fidget, shuffle papers and appear nervous. In one of my previous companies, the receptionist would often observe the candidates and share her feedback with the hiring managers.

Greet the interviewer or network contact with a firm handshake and offer sincere appreciation for their time. Prepare a brief opening statement expressing your knowledge of the company and sincere interest in the opportunity or meeting.  The interviewer or network contact is observing your confidence level and how you present yourself in new and stressful situations. If you can’t pass this test, how will you interact with senior leadership or key clients and vendors?  Why would the network contact want to introduce you to one of his key business partners or contacts?

Wait for the interviewer or contact to be seated and ask where they would prefer you to sit?  Ask if you can take notes before bringing out your notepad and do not take notes on a portable device. Your actions not only show respect for the individual but the interviewer or contact is assessing how you will treat and interact with others in the company, clients, or vendors.

Sit up straight, lean forward and do not fidget with your hair, jewelry or pen.  Show that you are engaged in the conversation and interested in what the interviewer or network contact has to say. If you don’t demonstrate this, how will you perform in key business meetings and presentations?

Listen with the intent to understand and gain intelligence about the company and the role. Don’t interrupt and try to control the conversation. Determine the appropriate time to respond and positively insert your achievements into the conversation. The interviewer is trying to gauge how well you listen and if you will respond to direction and feedback.

It takes more time and effort to reverse a bad first impression than it does to create a memorable impression from the start.  Make those first 90 seconds count and you are one step ahead in the hiring process.

Paula Pope -Senior Consultant - The Frontier Group provides career coaching and consulting to mid to senior level professionals in Atlanta