• Teresa Bennett

4 Like-ability Strategies For Interviews

Updated: Jun 11



“Likeability” Is Key


As human beings, interviewers have a subconscious bias where even if they have a rational and formalized hiring process in place, they’re still influenced by the social likability cues they pick up from you. They are, after all, human.


While they may be asking the same specific or technical questions to all candidates (and even in the same order), interviewers as human beings are evaluating their “feel” for you and what it would be like to work with you.


A big part of what they’re trying to determine (whether at a conscious or sub- conscious level) is if they like you — or if they like you enough — i.e. they can tolerate working with you.


Don't freak out, but a lot of this is determined in the first 30 seconds of an interview. Consider your tone and outward appearance and how people might gauge your personality and professionalism based on a quick first impression.


It’s smart to practice your entrance, your smile, your handshake, your demeanor, and your first words. You might practice by recording yourself on video and then watching it without the sound. What do you see? What is your body language portraying? Your facial impressions? Your dress? Your facial expression?


NOTE: If handshaking is not a social norm at the point and time you are interviewing, do not try to force it. For example, during flu season or the COVID-19 pandemic people will appreciate not shaking hands. If you have an in-person interview during a time that handshaking is not socially acceptable, then don’t put your hand out.


What if they put their hand out first? it’s up to you to determine your response based on your personal preference. You can then put your hand out and shake or you can say something like “let’s practice social distancing and skip the handshake” or make light of it and wave instead of shaking and say something like “this is my version of a virtual handshake”. However you handle it, smile when you’re doing it!


Your “likeability factor” is important to your possibility of getting hired. It’s worth thinking about and developing a strategy for — even if some of the things you have to do or say to increase your like-ability feel unnatural or take you a bit outside of your comfort zone.

For example, if you have a tendency to bounce your leg when you are sitting, either as a nervous habit or maybe because you don't like to sit still, it could be very distracting and you will come across as nervous, which you don't want to portray with your body language. It may also make the manager think you'll be too distracting in meetings if you are always bouncing around!


Find a way to ensure you don't "bounce". Maybe keeping a hand flat on your thigh or keeping a folder with your resume in it on your lap. Come up with some cue you can give yourself to not bounce your leg.

4 Strategies

  1. At the beginning of your interview, greet them like an old friend; like you are genuinely happy to see them. “Ingratiate yourself” with your interviewers. Make a connection with them before the questions begin. If you are a person who has trouble with chit-chat, then plan something to say. For example, compliment the “energy” in the office. Set a lively tone for the discussion.

  2. Be at your social best. Try to charm them to some degree. Go out of your way to appear to be a pleasant person. You probably are a pleasant person, so show them that you are!

  3. Smile and maintain eye contact. This is crucial. Smile, and look them in the eye when you smile. Again, this may sound like basic advice, but it goes a long way in impacting the subconscious factors that will help you get the job offer.

  4. Compliment the organization. Decide beforehand on three things you truly like about the company, and let your opinion be known during the interview. Review the company website to find things you like and look the organization up on LinkedIn and other social media sites where they have a presence.


Our 135-page Guide to Successful Business Analyst Interviews includes 13 more like-ability strategies. To learn more about what’s included in this guide, you can go here.

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