Your resume is targeted precisely for the role. You have qualifications that match what the hiring manager is looking for. Clearly, your experience is not the problem and feedback from interviews is coming back consistently saying that you interviewed well, but on this occasion you have been unsuccessful.
What’s going on?
If this has happened to you on more than one occasion, then it’s likely that the issue you’re facing is one you may not have considered. Charisma, culture fit and likability i.e. who out of the interviewees, can the hiring manager imagine spending 8 whole hours with, 5 days a week, on an ongoing basis.
This isn’t something that the interviewer can quantitatively measure, and often can’t even put a finger on why they don’t want to proceed with candidates that in their mind don’t fare highly on this scale. However, what I’ve heard managers say in these situations is “Oh, I just didn’t like her vibe” or “Not sure, but my gut feel is he’s a no”.
Reason plays no part in this part of decision making!
Often this means that the manager doesn’t think that the candidate would get along well with the team, or they don’t think that the candidate was positive enough during interview. There are many other reasons that could contribute to that opinion, all of which are difficult to explain to someone. How do you tell a person that you didn’t like them? Employers are afraid of getting into trouble, so will often use the “there was a candidate who more closely fit the specifications of the role” excuse.
Here’s how to stop the eternal interviewee cycle by not only building a connection with your interviewer, but by being charismatic AND enchanting!
Managers don’t want to hear that you want to work for their company because it’s prestigious and will give you opportunity to advance your career. They want to hear that you believe in their mission, that you respect and admire their vision, and that you want to be a part of their cause. People that believe in what a company fundamentally stands for are willing to go above and beyond to help it succeed, and this is attractive to a potential employer. It is also another way of portraying yourself as having strong work ethic.
Make sure you throw in a few examples of how you’ve gone above and beyond at work as well as times that you have shown initiative. These can help seal the deal.
Your level of perceived self confidence is made up of a combination of your verbal communication and non-verbal communication. These take into account the way you dress, the way that you sit (upright, or slouched), and the way that you shake hands with the interviewer.
If you know that you get nervous during interviews, remind yourself that this is just a conversation. It’s supposed to be two-sided i.e. you are there to figure out whether this is the right role for you, just as much as they are trying to decide whether or not you fit with them.
It will help if you practise appearing confident prior to your interview. Talk to yourself in the mirror, asking and answering questions. Video-tape yourself. Focus on how you project your voice. Maintain eye-contact. If you find that you’re speaking too fast, slow down a little. Speaking fast can make you appear nervous and unsure.
Don’t forget to tell the interviewer the great things that you’ve done. People can’t mind-read (yet), and there’s no time for modesty in an interview. If you can’t vocalise what you’ve achieved and why they should hire you over other candidates, they won’t think that they should either.
Not everybody is naturally bubbly. For those that aren’t, your timid and shy demeanour can be misinterpreted as awkwardness and can also come across as ‘boring’ for lack of a better term.
People prefer to be around positive people, and those that have a more openly upbeat personality are lucky here, because not only is this contagious and has other people catch the happy bug, but it also reverberates onto the rest of the team spirit and only multiplies.
You can overcome your shyness and the perceived lack of positivity that this can create by ensuring that you smile. Smile when you shake your interviewer’s hand. Smile when you’re answering questions and as you’re remembering examples of funny situations. And give examples of ways that you’ve motivated and boosted the energy in your previous workplaces.
Being able to build rapport is crucial during an interview, and often I see that my clients get so nervous during an interview, that they go into panic mode and forget to do this.
One of the worst possible things you can do during an interview, is sit there deer-in-headlights-like, waiting for the interviewer to fire questions at you, not talking unless you are spoken to. People generally respond best to people that they feel comfortable with, that they get on well with or have things in common with.
Often interviewers will tell you random facts about their life and the organisation. You can use this as your opportunity to show you’re interested by asking further questions regarding the point that they’re making.
To show that you are ‘one of them’:
- When listening, nod at what the other person is saying;
- Use the other person’s name during conversation;
- Don’t cross your arms when you’re sitting;
- Build on the other person’s ideas;
- Talk about things that refer to what the interviewer was saying;
- Feed back what the person was saying by summarising it;
- Be honest and genuine;
- Ask open questions;
- Avoid criticism.
People are inspired by people who LOVE what they do. They immediately want to be around those people too. They’re almost magnetically drawn to, and are inspired by those that can express their enthusiasm because it’s an admirable trait. It’s not easy to wear your heart on your sleeve this way. Commitment of this sort can be nerve-wracking to own, but will automatically connect you to people of all walks of life, who have a passion too.
At the end of the day, to build connection, remember that people want to feel good about themselves. If you can help them feel good about themselves, they will more often than not, like you for it.
And the way to have them feel good about themselves is by appearing more interesting. The trick to that is slightly counter-intuitive. Common sense would tell you that this means you should talk about something interesting, when in actual fact, you should make the person you’re talking to feel that they themselves are interesting!
Ask the right questions, fill in the right blanks, and you build the person up to feeling on top of the world which will have them WANT to be around you! They begin to associate you with positive feelings, and that’s a likeable place to be.
As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask or give me a buzz.