The last time I posted the meme you see above, it generated lots of heated discussions across multiple forums. So I thought it deserved a more thorough explanation. The main idea was:
Employers must perceive that you are interested in the job, or they will not be interested in you!
I’ve been teaching interview strategy for well over 15+ years, I’ve authored comprehensive training programs on interview strategies, I’ve co-hosted a radio show called “Job Talk” in Chicago for 6 years discussing interview strategy, and have one of the most comprehensive, video-based, job search training websites available anywhere online which includes extensive interview training in SpeedUpMyJobSearch.com.
Through ALL of that, the primary focus is on the importance of being perceived as likable during the interview, and specifically how to create that perception, because that’s the most essential element to getting hired!
People hire people they like as people. Qualifications are important, but they are secondary to likability.
Being likable isn’t some vague characteristic that you either have or you don’t, it’s a quantifiable quality that ANYONE can achieve.
The process of becoming likable can be an almost scientific, step by step methodology. There are several universally likable human characteristics, which, if you can display them at strategic times during your interview, your percentage chance of being perceived as more likable drastically increases.
Anyone can learn how to do this.
Through all my programs I teach what the characteristics are, when to use them, and specifically how to use them. Of all the characteristics I teach, without question, the MOST effective way to positively affect your likability factor is to
Show Specific Interest in the Position and in the Company.
If you have your evaluation hat on, making it clear that they need to impress you if you’re going to accept the offer THEY HAVE NOT MADE YET, this will diminish their interest in you.
The arguments I received to the meme were people saying you are evaluating them while they evaluate you, and I agree that you SHOULD evaluate the company before accepting an offer; I’m not saying you shouldn’t.
However, you should NOT be evaluating the company during the interview. You decided to be there, to sell yourself to this company, so be there and sell. Take notes yes, but get the debate out of your head while you are there.
The degree to which you are in your own head debating if you want to work there, is the degree to which you are not fully present in the interview.
Your interest in them will create interest in you. It’s easier to like someone who you know already likes you.
I’ll give you an example of just how powerful interest is:
Hypothetically, let’s say you’ve been saving up your money to hire someone to help you care for some collectibles you have in storage that you really cherish.
You have 2 people who can do it, they are equally qualified, same number of years in the business, and they cost the same. You interview them both:
The first person makes several judgmental comments about the current conditions of your collectibles, and he’s not sure he wants to do the project. He requires you to send specs of storage facility you chose to see if he can work in that type of space.
The second person asks you for the opportunity to do the job because he’s always been interested in those specific collectibles and would enjoy helping you care for yours.
Who makes you feel like they would take better care of your prized collectibles?
Who do you feel a connection to and think you’ll work more cohesively around?
“But Paul, they need the specs of the facility to know if they can do the job!”
I get it, but please understand that the second person can still ask for the specs of the storage facility before saying “yes, I accept your offer”, and he can still turn down the job if it’s not right for him.
If an employer has 2 candidates, both have the same experience, the same skill level, the same salary requirements, same everything. One of them really wants the job for specific reasons and the other person might want the job, but only if certain conditions are met,
The first person will get that job every time.
From the employer’s perspective, that first person will bring additional intangibles to the job because they are so interested in the job!
Employers can train skills, but they cannot train desire.
So I stand by that meme, don’t let an employer’s first impression of you be of you evaluating them. Decide your interest before the interview.