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Passing That Job Interview - The One Technique to Rule Them All

Today I want to write about an interview technique that is so fundamental, perhaps even so obvious it should not even need saying at all...you would think.

If you get it right, it can seem like you are the untouchable interviewee. You can give poor, unstructured answers or even be an unsuitable candidate for the role and the interviewer will not even notice, and can even be heard backwards rationalising their decision to recommend you for the job. It is not uncommon to hear the interviewer justify their decision with things like "they just had something about them" or "they deserve a chance."

We are not talking hypnotism or voodoo here, and there are no Jedi mind tricks involved (although get it wrong and it does have a 'dark side') no we are talking about being likeable.

No one should ever underestimate just how important this one concept is, in fact you could arguably say this is everything when it comes down to having a successful interview in many jobs. Tiziana Casciaro, professor at Harvard Business School, has been quoted as saying "How we value competence changes depending on whether we like someone or not" well you can quote me as saying "ain't that the truth"

In an ideal world this issue of likeability would be irrelevant, for the interviewer would be the pinnacle of emotionless professionalism. Their robotic like judgement would be based on your academic merit, how qualified you are or on the competency & motivational evidence your interview answers provide them.....but alas we are merely human (well most of us...) and just as you will form an opinion on how amiable the person behind the desk is - they will do the same with you.

Now let's be clear, this likeability concept is not just the same as having rapport or just being pleasant - although these are symptoms of being likable. It is much more then that but at the same time how do we define when it means different things to different people?

Well of course when dealing with such a subjective concept it can be difficult to define it, but what we do find is that there are some good general rules of behaviour and conduct that we can use as a pretty consistent guide (and these of course don't just apply when being interviewed for a job, they apply both on the job when dealing with others and in general areas of your life too.)

One of the first characteristics of the likeable candidate is that they will never under any circumstances display anything but positivity.

Now that I have said this I don't want you to act like you have just rode in on your unicorn of happiness and friendship to share joyous fuzzy lovedrops and celebrate the beauty of rainbows. That would just make you creepy.

What you should do is reframe everything to be positive. So let's say the last job you had you were overworked, underpaid, unappreciated and exploited and you're asked what you think about your previous employment - the positive person would focus on the fact that it gave you valuable skills and experience etc. If the interview time/date you are given is wrong or has needed to be rearranged, you see it as a chance to demonstrate your flexibility. Often in interviews you will be kept waiting while other candidates are seen first and are grateful for the opportunity. If you had trouble parking and the security guard/receptionist was rude, it doesn't even register on your radar and you certainly don't mention it or make an issue out of it (after all you are 'excellent at interacting with all kinds of people' remember.)

The likable candidate also seems to have the uncanny ability to know when it is their turn to talk and their turn to listen - we often refer to this as 'flow' (and for any hip hop fans out, this is not the same thing!) This comes from a solid understanding of the dynamics between interviewer and interviewee.

There is also another trait the candidate will have without exception - an enthusiasm for the role they are applying for!! This enthusiasm is demonstrated through their word choices, tonality, their smile and the fact that they have come prepared.

This goes a way to communicate that the role is something they really want to do. Research the company - know who you are going to be working for, for possibly the next few years of your life. Know the name of the role you have applied for, and understand what you will be doing inside out - memorise that job spec, tattoo it to your arm if you have to.

Been asked to bring an application/vetting/reference form? TAKE IT.

Going on holiday? Know the dates which you will be away. Know your notice period.

Understand that if a candidate is not prepared in any way it communicates to the interviewer that they don't care, it's not important or that this is a person that doesn't have their act together. As an interviewer it is very hard to like a person that is wasting their time.

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