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How to be more likable when interviewing

“Some of the best advice I got when I had some coaching was around likability.” – A CEO recently shared this with me, regarding how he evolved his own interviewing skill set.

Now you may be thinking that this word “likability” can sit there on the shelf next “culture fit” which can be full of bias, and I agree. At the end of the day, though, this fluffy word is something that sets certain candidates apart. Likability and authenticity can and should go hand in hand.

It’s easy to get nervous when interviewing, to sell yourself and make sure you hit on all the right points. Here’s an easier approach, and hopefully it’ll make the whole experience a lot more fun.

If there’s something the interviewer wants to talk about, talk about it.

Here’s an easy way to think about this: improv comedy. I don’t mean that you should stand up from your chair, take a few steps back, and ask the interviewer for a word, any word, and start to act out a scene. In a Fast Company article titled “Let These Improv Artists Help You Nail Your Next Interview” Dominique Rodgers says “The main tenet of improv is ‘Yes, and…,’ which emphasizes taking what’s introduced by others, accepting it, and building upon it. Practicing this type of response can help someone who might feel self-conscious or doesn’t know what to say next.“

“For example, if your interviewer begins with small talk about your weekend, you want to make them comfortable. Share what you did that weekend (The Yes….And) then ask them about theirs.”

Instead of selling yourself, or trying to take control of the dialogue, try out some “Yes, and…” and see what happens. I bet it’ll be a great conversation.

I’m on a mission to demystify executive search. As always you can find more job search and hiring tips on my blog. Stay tuned for a book coming this spring! Website:

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