Durkin’s Getting Hired at a Startup Series (6 of 10): Make Them Like You
#6. Make them like you.
The word “interview” is intense. It evokes the image of having one person on the offense (the person who is giving the job) and one person on the defense (the person who wants to get the job). The best interviewees I’ve seen are able to take this mindset and control the conversation. Who is in control in the interview? Is it the candidate or the hiring manager? Really good candidates know how to be in control and work through information to put them in the best position. But how do you do this?
Here’s a tip.
Make the other person like you.
Well, Durkin, how the hell do I do that?!?!
High level: Display great presence by smiling, standing up and sitting up straight, giving a firm handshake at the start and end of the interview, nodding when you agree with the person, and varying your tone to show excitement when things excite you. Don’t be arrogant. Be insanely positive. Answer questions with specifics. Be succinct when you answer those same questions. And be okay with saying “I don’t know. I’ll get back to you on that.”
More specifically: Talk about your interests and the interests of the interviewer. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a supporter of the idea of putting interests on your resume. They are a great end cap to your resume because they allow you as the interviewee to shift the interview to more of a conversation. If you are trying to earn a job, it is always a good thing when you can inject personal interests and shared commonalities between yourself and the person interviewing you.
If you pick up from your talk that your interviewer likes to run, and you like to run, talk about that. If you pick up from your talk that your interviewer loves Boston history, and you love Boston history, talk about that. Look for shared interests and find opportunities to bring them up. Getting your interviewer saying “I do that, TOO” or “I love learning about that, TOO” or “I do that every day, TOO” is unbelievably helpful in terms of closing on an interview. Why? Because people like to hire people like them. So don’t do yourself a disadvantage by not bringing light to the fact that you actually do have things in common with the interviewer. Allow people to like you. Don’t just allow it, make it happen.