By Sabrina Almeida
Job candidates have a new skill to master and it’s called “likeability”. So before you go for your next interview armed with your qualifications and experience take some time to make yourself more “likeable”. It has proven to be the deal sealer in a majority of cases.
Many interviewers openly admit to hiring a candidate based on how much they liked him or her. It’s rarely job-related. If you’re one of those know-it-alls or the I-can-do-better type, prepare to be cast aside.
At the same time there are those who can take comfort in the fact that lack of skill or experience won’t stand in their way of getting the job. They just have to work on making the interviewers feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It may
sound trivial but it’s a fact we have to deal with. That it can all boil down to a congeniality contest.
“Fitting in with the work culture”, “getting along with colleagues” and “being humble about your accomplishments” will apparently get you the top score when compared to your degrees or experience. It’s why interviewing has become the art of conservation.
As one lady said to me, it helps her perform really well at interviews.
Imagine what does can do for the self-esteem of those that don’t make it. Knowing they are not likeable enough!!!
I must admit that the likeability index or likeonomics has me thoroughly confused. While I agree that no one wants to work with an overconfident jerk, wouldn’t it be equally difficult to get along with an incompetent buffoon who can’t get the job done. A smiling face can only carry you that far, but maybe I’m wrong.
If you’re patting yourself on the back for being a likeable person, don’t break out the cheer leaders yet. Likeability is also highly personalized. As a no-nonsense person I might be favourable towards a candidate who gets straight to
the point. You on the other hand might prefer diplomacy. A gentleman who was interviewing for a senior position was asked what his managerial style was. He lost out because the interviewer preferred a hard-line approach.
So how does one get over this new hurdle?
The only way is to find out more about the people who are going to decide whether you are likeable enough or not… and align yourself to their index. This means Facebook and Twitter might become your new interview guides. A lot of people check out candidates and interviewers on LinkedIn but that might not give you the personality insights that you need. If you know someone who works there who can give you the scoop, it’s like winning the lottery. But we already knew that one!
Another reality that interviewers won’t admit to is that likeability can also become an excuse. To take a competent candidate who appears to be a threat to your job out of the running. For those who have been shut out by the
“overqualified” excuse, likeability is just another way to put it… a worse one.
So do you confidently extol all the goodies you can bring to the table or let them believe they can put a ring through your nose? The gurus will encourage you to be evasive and less truthful about your ambitions. To appear malleable.
Now you see why your answer to “where do you see yourself in the next five years” can make or break the deal.
I’m reminded about the time when a teacher advised my son not to talk about his marks because the other students might feel bad. At that time we told him underplaying his achievements would not get him the job… but perhaps it’s time to revisit that conversation.
Sometimes I wonder why we waste our time getting an education or working our butts off to perform better when all you have to do is be likeable! We’ve been on the wrong track the whole time.