Ten Ways To Be Liked in Your Job Interview

Michele Warg
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The dreaded job interview. No matter your resume and talents if you mess this up you won’t get that job. In today's tough economy you need every possible edge. As authors of the new book, I Hate People! Kick Loose from the Overbearing and Underhanded Jerks at Work and Get What you Want Out of Your Job, we see it as a simple equation: You want to be liked – not hated. Here are ten simple things to do that will dramatically increase your chances: from wearing the right expression, to knowing what not to say, to never ever breaking a sweat. 1. Don’t be a Smiley Face Excessive smiling in a job interview is seen for what it is –nervousness and a lack of confidence. A Smiley Face exudes phoniness, which will quickly be picked up by the interviewer. Instead be thoughtful and pleasant. Smile when there’s something to smile about. Do a practice run in front of a mirror or friend. 2. Don’t be a Know-It-None Your job is to be knowledgeable about the company for which you’re interviewing. Random facts about last night’s episode of Dancing With The Stars episode or your favorite blog will not get you the job. Never feel you have to fill an interview with small talk. Find ways to talk about serious subjects related to the industry or company. Pockets of silence are better than padding an interview with random babble. 3. Don’t Sweat You can lose a job by wearing an undershirt or simply a little too much clothing. Sweaty palms or beads on your forehead will not impress. You are not applying to be a personal trainer. Sweat will be seen as a sign of weakness and nervousness. Do a practice run with your job interview outfit in front of friends. The job interview is one place you definitely don’t want to be hot. 4. Put down that Stop Sign Interviewers are seeking candidates eager to take on challenging projects and jobs. Hesitance and a nay saying mentality will be as visible as a red tie – and seen as a negative. Practice saying “yes “ to questions about your interest in tasks and work that might normally give you pause. 5. Don’t be a Sheeple Asking the location of the lunchroom or meeting room will clue the interviewer into your lack of preparation and initiative. Prepare. Don’t ask questions about routine elements or functions of a company: where stuff is, the size of your cube and company policy on coffee breaks. 6. Don’t be a Liar Liar Studies show that employees lie frequently in the workplace. Lying won’t get you one. In a job interview even a slight exaggeration is lying. Don’t. Never stretch your resume or embellish accomplishments. There’s a difference between speaking with a measured confidence and engaging in BS. One lie can ruin your entire interview, and the skilled interviewer will spot the lie and show you the door. 7. Don’t Be a Bad Comedian Humor tends to be very subjective and while it may be tempting to lead your interview with a joke you’ve got to be careful about your material. You probably will know nothing about the sensibilities of your interviewer, let alone what makes them laugh. On the other hand, nothing disarms the tension of a job interview like a little laughter, so you can probably score at least a courtesy chuckle mentioning that it’s “perfect weather for a job interview!” 8. Don’t Be High Maintenance If you start talking about the ideal office temperature, the perfect chair for your tricky back, and how the water cooler needs to be filled with imported mineral water, chances are you’ll be shown a polite smile and the door, regardless of your qualifications. Nobody hiring today is going to be looking for someone who’s going to be finicky about their workspace. 9. Don’t Be A Minute Man At every job interview, the prospective hire is given the chance to ask questions. Make yours intelligent, to the point and watch the person across the desk for visual cues whether you’ve asked enough. Ask too many questions about off-target matters and you’ll be thought of as a Minute Man, destined to waste the company’s resources with insignificant and time-wasting matters. 10. Don’t Be A Switchblade Normally the Switchblade is thought of a backstabber, often taking credit for someone else’s work. In an interview setting, the Switchblade can’t help but “trash talk” his former employer. If you make it seem like your former workplace was hell on Earth, the person interviewing you might be tempted to call them to find out who was the real devil. ©2009 Jonathan Littman and Marc Hershon, authors of I Hate People!: Kick Loose from the Overbearing and Underhanded Jerks at Work and Get What You Want Out of Your Job Author Bios Jonathan Littman, is the author of I Hate People! and numerous acclaimed works of nonfiction, including The Fugitive Game, The Watchman, and The Beautiful Game. He is also the coauthor of IDEO's The Art of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation. He is a contributing editor for Playboy and a columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Marc Hershon is the coauthor of I Hate People! and a branding expert who helped to create the names for the BlackBerry, Swiffer, nüvi, and many other influential products. He is also a comedy veteran who has worked closely, with Dana Carvey, Bill Maher, and Robin Williams. For more information please visit www.IHatePeople.biz

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  • John Eurey
    John Eurey
    The information is very valuable and I will remember this advice when I start my interview process for an Assistant Principal job.
  • Rogelio Silva
    Rogelio Silva
    Very Interesting, thanks. Could you please talk about how to dress in an interview and relate it to the type of job we are being interviewed for?Thanks,
  • patrick asine
    patrick asine
    l learned a lot from you, thanks!
  • cindy oglesby
    cindy oglesby
    I am 57 years old and was recently terminated after serving as am Ombudsman (advocate) for nursing home and assisted living residents in rural West Texas.  The new director,(former friend and peer), turned tailcoat and became devilish.  I was clearly overworked with crisis cases and asked for clerical support (formally) on at least 3 ocassions and flatly denied everytime. I clearly get that documentation is crucial, but responding to family and residents' needs took priority.  Several of my volunteers protested the firing with formal letters, etc. to the board, etc. without success.  How do I get around the termination issue, even though I had good/excellent evaluations, had kudos, awards, etc?
  • Marty
    I've done a few of these in the last year and a half and guess what? I'm still out of work. This article is good although I've now seen the suggestions many times and learned much. I am (was) a mainframe computer programmer. One thing...there's several people in my network who have lied quite a bit on resumes and interviews and got the job! Their key was being able to somehow figure out how to do what they said they could without being found out. They badger me all the time to do the same, but it's just not me. Then again, who snagged the high paying jobs and who's going to work next week for $8.50 and hour?
  • Jane
    I am 57 years old, widowed, and looking for work after 14 years of excellent performance for people who didn't appreciate my quest for quality. Accuracy in my work was critical to the customers and the equipment involved, and I depended on getting accurate information from technicians within the company.  Those technicians were often very careless, and either didn't provide the information, or provided incorrect information.  Almost daily, I would catch these errors, and go back to the service manager for assistance and corrections.  These men did not like this, and I was seen as "difficult".  However, because of my tenacity, I was able to create a database of information which has proven invaluabe to this company, and has made them an enormous amount of money.  Unfortunately, that database enabled them to replace me with a temp, at a much lower rate of pay.  Adding insult to injury, they had their attorney send me a letter expressing that all the knowledge I had gained in while in their employ was the sole intellectual property of their company, and that, should I pursue my career in this field with a competitor, both my new employer and I would be subject to lawsuit.  So, here I am.....
  • Eli Ross
    Eli Ross
    Thank u so much. I think I needed some of this advice to refresh my preparation hoping I should get an interview soon.Thank you, Truly eli,
  • William Jensen
    William Jensen
    how do i make it sound like that contracts expired and there was no work hours available since i quit. how can i put that from where it sounds good? i used to work security for 1.5 years. i've had interviews that don't ask much questions due to my two page resume looking for work while going to school.
  • Jeneva
    Lately I've been hit with the flu, and a bad case of laryngitis and I've been asked to go to interviews, how do you effectively give an interview when you are ill, and do you suggest that one should keep their appointments when sick.
  • Hope Evans
    Hope Evans
    This information is great! I enjoyed reading this, it peaks my curiosity to know how employers view new & old Job seekers. We have a hard time looking & finding Jobs; now we have to watch our every word and move thanks!
  • Russell McCarrick
    Russell McCarrick
    Yes i can relate to cindy & karen, i'm 50 never been laid off since 2009. only had 4 jobs since i was 18. my interviewing skills suck, so anything will help. not many callbacks why? my skills match every thing they want. what gives?
  • Randy
    These are very challenging times, and having been a CFO/accountant in 8 different industries, I can tell you I have never witnessed the difficulty in being hired as I've recently seen.  While I am  gainfully employed, my advice for Karen and others who have years of experience would be to use that knowledge to your advantage. You WILL find the employer who values your very impressive resume, and WILL call you back.  Stay positive (easier said than done), ask them what their issues are, and remember to show how you can help them solve problems/offer solutions (with examples of having done so), and emphasize your willingness to tackle challenges.  Good luck!
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry
    To Penny re: switchblade; I've had a job on my resume that I left because the management was difficult. My approach has been to say I take pride in my work, and I was unhappy with the quality of work I was able to provide with the tools I was given. I leave it at that. Not a perfect answer, but it has satisfied my interviewers. I try to turn weaknesses into strengths.
  • Beverly Durham
    Beverly Durham
    These are very helpful tips, I especially appreciate the part that says "don't be a smiley face", I tend to smile a lot and this will help me be more aware to avoid doing it too excessively, especially during an interview.
  • Karen
    I'm 55, think I have been following all the good advice in your article. I'm getting "you have a very impressive resume", however I do not get call backs. Any tips?
  • GlennB
    These tips seem very helpful.
  • Dwayne Rummings
    Dwayne Rummings
    I'm in my forties so when I go into an interview I respect the interviewers position but treat them as an equal since we are usually close to the same age or I am older.  I show respect but, be myself.For the person who had a previous employer who was not kind, when asked what they were like or similar questions, just say "We had differing views on topics and didn't always see eye to eye."  Keep the comments about other jobs or employers/employees neutral eg. "It/He/She was amazing."  Neither negative or positive.
  • Epi Vasquez
    Epi Vasquez
    It is very hard out there to get a job and every bit of advice is very helpful, I must have sent out at least 200 resumes. I will print these tips out and try to remember them in my next interview, thank you for the tips, Epi Vasquez Austin, Tx
  • Mark
    Those 10 tips are totally humilaiting and condecending to the applicant. If you cant be yourself then you probably should look elsewhere.
  • Val
    Note to Cindy: Don't underestimate yourself, you ran a business and household. I'm blackballed w/ employers when they were obviously wrong. I am a God Fearing women who does't like the dirty jokes, bad language and goof-off's in the office (don't get me wrong there is a time and place for everything.) I have always heard it is easier to get a job when you have one.
  • Troy Edler
    Troy Edler
    This article was very informative,  I'll use the tips on my next interview.Thanks,
  • Cindy
    I am having to look for a job at age 49, and Never had to be the ONLY bread winner.  I have been doing dog grooming for yrs, and I feel that hurts my resume, even though I have had other jobs, but way long ago. Since I HAD to hurry and get SOMETHING I took a job at Sonic (till better comes along) and the 2 days I have worked has affected my back and feet really bad!  I hate that, cause I used to be able to do a lot of stuff! Now I am hurting, and really don't want to go back!  I am hoping for data entry or something like that, but I hear and read they all check your credit, and mine isn't very good right now! Sorry, just needed to share this. My poor mother wants to see us (her grown kids) be able to make it in life!  Thanks for listening!
  • Carol Ferguson
    Carol Ferguson
    I like #9 Be prepared to ask the intelligent questions and take the clue from the interviewer how far to go.
  • Rosanna Vega
    Rosanna Vega
    I appreciated these tips as I will be interviewingfor a job early next week. I agree on most of your tips.Thanks
  • Bill Sauer
    Bill Sauer
    Really good advice... even though I had heard/read most of these before... it was good to re-read them as a 'refresher'.Thanks.Bill Sauer

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