Don’t Underestimate the “Likeability Factor” of Job Interviews

Likeabillity graphicIn a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, researchers discovered a strong correlation between initial impressions of interviewers and their evaluations of candidate responses to structured interview questions. The initial impressions corresponded with candidate extroversion and verbal skills, with job qualifications being equal.[1] In other words, favorable first impressions created by candidates during the rapport-building stage of job interviews (that is, small talk) influenced interviewers’ subsequent evaluations.

All skills, knowledge, and experience being equal among candidates, most hiring managers will hire the candidate that makes a memorable impression on a professional and personal level. In other words, if you present yourself as a likeable person during the interview, people tend to be more interested in what you have to offer.

However, if you do not connect on a personal level—regardless of your skill set—it will be more difficult to get an offer from a hiring manager. Strong interpersonal skills, excellent verbal communication skills, and a friendly personality help set the stage for your receptivity by the hiring manager. At the same, those who hint at being a high-maintenance employee are often the ones who upset an established, positive working team dynamic. Creating rapport and a positive connection is what opens doors for others to see and hear to what you have to offer. If there is no connection, it is likely your job hunt will continue.


[1] Barrick, et al. (2012) “Candidate characteristics driving initial impressions during rapport building: implications for employment interview validity”. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 82 No. 2 pp. 330-352.

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