Your Likeability Will Make or Break Your Chances of a Job Offer

Two men greeting eaother with a handshake

So just how important is your likeability factor in getting hired? Make no mistake about it – very. Whether you are interviewing for your next $30,000 or $300,000 position, your personality plays an integral role in the hiring decision making process. You could have all of the talent in the world – intelligence, experience, skills, and knowledge, but if you’re not liked, you won’t stand a chance in getting an offer. In the book, The Likeability Factor, author Tim Sanders reviews the four factors of your personality that work to enhance your likeability: friendliness, relevance, empathy and realness. It’s a great read and provides insightful advice on how to hone these critical traits.

In a job interview, these same factors will allow you to win every time. Why? Because very simply, people want to work with people they like. This doesn’t mean that you have to have the most dynamic and engaging personality ever, but it does mean that you need to demonstrate your likeability in an interview. Prospective employers want to know that you’ll get along with your colleagues, boss and direct reports and that you’ll be able to accomplish your work through and with others. You can still project confidence, communicate the value you could bring to an organization and show how fabulous you are without being abrasive, arrogant and disingenuous.

Over the years, I’ve said and heard time and time again:

“He’s a really talented guy, but he seems to have a big ego that people just won’t like.”

“I think she’s really smart and could bring a lot to the team, but there is just something about her that rubbed me the wrong way.”

“He came across like a used car salesman. There was something that wasn’t very genuine about him.”

“He’s got such great experience, but I just don’t think people will relate to him.”

“Both candidates have exceptional experience, but Mary’s personality and abruptness may really turn people off.”

If the hiring decision has come down to two final candidates for a given position, both with similar skills and experience, the one who is more liked will get the job every time. We see this same scenario play out in real life every day when all other deciding factors remain equal (and sometimes even when they don’t). We shop in stores where people are nicer. We buy products from the salesperson we like better. It’s human nature to gravitate towards people who make us feel good, project positive energy and who are just nice and pleasant to be around.

Here’s a list of some Dos and Don’ts that will help to showcase your likeability in an interview:

  • Do smile and project energy and enthusiasm in your voice.
  • Do show some personality and lighten up – you can still be professional without being overly serious and formal.
  • Do greet people you meet at reception and acknowledge others as you walk around the halls.
  • Do ask questions to show that you are interested in the company, position and the person with whom you’re interviewing.
  • Do engage in small talk to help break the ice and showcase your interpersonal skills.
  • Do practice active listening by reflecting on what is being conveyed and show the interviewer that he or she is being heard – “It sounds like the team is really struggling with x, here’s how I could help…”
  • Do keep your responses focused and succinct.
  • Do convey a sense of optimism and passion for what you do.
  • Do leave your sarcasm and quick wit at the door.
  • Don’t ramble and talk too much.
  • Don’t interject and try to outtalk the interviewer.
  • Don’t be negative.
  • Don’t tell your personal life story and provide a “back story” for every example you provide.
  • Don’t provide “canned” answers and sound like your reciting a script that you rehearsed. Speak naturally and from the heart.
  • Don’t tell them what’s wrong with their company before they’ve told you.
  • Don’t challenge the interviewer or share negative experiences unless asked directly.
  • Don’t speak poorly of your past employer, boss or colleagues.
  • Don’t share examples of your strengths and accomplishments that are not relevant to the position or organization.

Bottom line: enhancing your likeability will improve your overall success in today’s competitive job market.

About Amy Phillip

Leadership Career Consultant/Resume Writer committed to bringing out the best in my clients & helping leaders succeed in their careers.

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