We all know someone who walks into a room and instantly turns heads. There is an immediate attraction to them without any apparent effort on their part. Their company makes you feel good. They seem cool, confident, collected, self-assured and comfortable in their own skin. They may not be attractive, wealthy, or intelligent, but they have a certain something—charisma.
In my opinion, there is nothing more advantageous for a job seeker than having a magnetic personality—attracting rather than repelling.
It is comfortable for job seekers and employees to believe that their education, skills, and experiences are what will lead them to be hired and receive promotions and raises. Such a mindset leads to frustration and disappointment.
I firmly believe that the ability to become charismatic is not innate and can be learned. This is an important trait to have, especially when interviewing. Understandably, employers are attracted to candidates who can effortlessly establish friendships, influence people, and collaborate well with coworkers, managers, clients, and others. After all, relationships are the backbone of business. Possessing charisma will make you more desirable, especially when compared to your less motivated competition, and thus give you a competitive advantage.
In my last column, Employers Buy Into You Based on Emotion, I mentioned two interview truisms:
- Being likeable trumps your skills and experience, and
- Throughout your interview, your interviewer is asking themselves: “Do I like this person?”
(Worth repeating: The deciding factor in all hiring is the interviewer asking themselves, “Do I like this person?”)
Even for a hard-to-fill position, I have yet to know a hiring manager who has ever hired someone they did not like.
Since job search and career success rely heavily on your people skills, you should develop your people skills and make yourself a charismatic individual that employers, and your colleagues, will want on their team.
According to social psychologists, charisma is made up of three primary qualities:
The most effective interviewees know how to engage their interviewer with candid, stimulating conversation, drawing them into their way of thinking through their charisma and confidence. More precisely, charismatic interviewees can persuade their interviewer to open up to them by coming across as authentic, knowledgeable and attuned to their interviewer’s and employer’s needs.
The most effective job seekers employ three communication “tactics” in order to connect with their interviewer and professionals they meet (Networking is effortless when you have a charismatic personality.):
- They listen and maintain consistent eye contact.
“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” – Bryant H. McGill, American author.
A charismatic personality is built on attentive listening; therefore, the first step to becoming charismatic is: Be present in the moment!
Turn off your smartphone or leave it at home or in your car. During your interview, refrain from staring at the view outside your interviewer’s window, scanning their office, looking at the employees walking by, or thinking about what you want for lunch. Give your interviewer your undivided attention throughout the interview. Focus on them, not the surroundings or any of the monkey chatter that may be going on in your head.
2. Rather than avoid possibly making a bad impression, they say what they think.
Interviewees do little to impress and connect with their interviewer by answering questions in such a way as attempting to avoid making an unfavourable impression. Cliched answers are unimpressive and forgettable.
Charismatic interviewees aim to build a trusting relationship with their interviewer, not fly under the radar. Consequently, they are sincere and upfront about who they are and what they stand for.
Due to their desire to be authentic, they are willing to take the risks that come with being upfront. Their self-confidence motivates them to adopt a mindset that if their interviewer cannot accept them as they are, then they are not a fit.
3. They appeal to the traits and ideals their interviewer assigned themselves and their company.
This is an aspect of charisma that is tricky.
Fundamental to building a relationship is showing respect for how the other person sees themselves.
Your interviewer has an image of themselves and their company; whether it is accurate is irrelevant.
During your interview, listen carefully to learn what are your interviewer’s pride in themselves and their company. A great question to ask: “What is your proudest achievement while working here?”
It should not be surprising that most hiring managers view themselves as competent, innovative, and influential, possessing inherent leadership skills.
Interviewees with charisma leverage these perceived traits and emphasize that they are interested in the job due to the organization’s leadership team, culture, and reputation.
The key to being a charismatic interviewee is developing an ability to make your interviewer feel understood and respected, which is an ability you should be using throughout your life to enhance your various relationships.
Interviewers (READ: all human beings) crave sincere appreciation and perceived importance from candidates. Therefore, charismatic interviewing involves effectively conveying such a message and feeling. Showing interest in your interviewer is always an effective job search strategy.
Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers “unsweetened” job search advice. You can send Nick your questions to email@example.com.