Likability and the Similarity Principle
Many hiring managers and interviewers hire those that they like. Here are some ways to increase your likability:
- Use the same language. If you sound like them, you must be like them. Copy similar vocabulary and patterns of speech. Also copy their speech pace.
- Use the same gestures. (Same as above.)
- Dress the same way. If you look like them, you must be like them.
- Have the same hobbies. If they like foosball and yoga, build attraction by claiming similar interests.
- Have the same affiliation. There's a reason why millions pay to go to Harvard or join the local country club.
- Emphasize similar experiences. Instead of saying, "You went to Princeton, and I went to Yale." Say "We're similar: we both graduated from Ivy League schools."
Human beings get energized by those who are upbeat and optimistic. Be careful! Over do it, and you'll rub others the wrong way.
Recommendation: gauge the interviewer's energy level, and exceed it by 10%.
Every individual has a core set of psychological needs: validation and inclusion are the two big ones.
For the first one, validate the other person. Acknowledge their accomplishments or feelings. Give them the appreciation that they only seem to get from their mother.
For the second one, include the other person. It's a little tougher to pull off at the interview. However, let's say the interviewer is new to the city, you might be able to make them feel "included" by inviting them to a insider-only party.
Interviewers find candidates that use detailed stories more credible and competent than those that do not.
Warning: detail does not mean filling up airtime with jargon. Interviewers are smart enough to see past that.
Research from Harvard professor Alison Wood Brooks indicates that presenters who say "I am excited" are 17% more persuasive and 15% more confident than those that say "I am calm."
Based on my experience with my job search clients, the same principle applies to interviewees.
This technique, known as "mirroring", is widely used among the psychological world as a mean to gain an interlocutor's trust and make them feel at ease. Good salesmen often use it to increase their chances of closing.
By mirroring their movements, tone, gestures, breathing pace and so on, you're basically communicating: "Hey, we're playing the same tune here. We're akin. You can trust me."
Remember: verbal language represents only about 7% of what we're actually communicating. The remaining 93% is up to your body and your tone, so focusing on howto speak rather than what to tell is a priority.
Bear in mind: mirroring isn't parrotting. It's not quite easy (at least for most parts) and it's a skill that requires training. The good side is that it can be practiced anywhere, anytime, with anyone.
Try it with strangers at the bar, with your friends, your mother, your teachers, on a date (especially on a date: it works wonders).
Q: "But what if someone notices it? They might get upset!"
A: "Unless you act like a dumb parrott, nobody will ever notice anything. Be somewhat subtle. The only case in which someone might notice that you're mirroring them, is if they're aware of the technique themselves. And this can only be a positive fact as it is another point in common you're sharing with your interlocutor".
Start with body language, as it's the easiest thing to mirror: they scratch their nose with left hand, you touch your face with right hand (remember: you have to be specular). They cross their legs, you cross legs the opposite way. And so forth.
After you feel confident with body language you might want to move on with tone: as you may be well aware, some people speak at a very fast and intermittent pace, others are very slow, others have instead a rythm.