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How to Expect the Interviewer to Like You (So They Will)

by THEA kelley | April 8, 2021

If you assume that people already like you, they probably will, according to research. Since personal chemistry plays a big role in job interviews, this has big implications for your job search.

So what I’m really talking about is:

How to get an interviewer to like you.

In a classic study entitled “Deconstructing the Reign of Error,” researchers found that people behave more warmly when they expect to be positively accepted. That behavior, in turn, actually results in their being accepted.

Sometimes we’re optimistic and expect to be liked. But job interviews, especially during times like these, have a way of bringing out one’s pessimistic side.

Can you just decide to be optimistic that the interviewer will like you? Not so much. But you can cultivate that optimism by using your imagination.

Try this exercise:

Next time you have an interview coming up, along with the rest of your interview preparation, spend a few minutes imagining you’re already on the job and have a great rapport with your new manager. As vividly as possible, imagine that manager greeting you with a smile as they pass by your desk. Imagine him giving you positive feedback in a one-on-one meeting.

Do similarly for each person you’ll interview with. Imagine the HR person passing you in the hallway and saying “Hi! I’ve been hearing great things about you.”

Now back up in time and imagine them liking you during the interview, including what you ‘ll see, hear and feel that tells you so.

Do this more than once. Try spending five minutes a day with this exercise, for a few days before the interview.

As I wrote in my post, Job Interview Success: What’s Love Got to Do With It?, the interviewer is a human being. It’s easy to forget that, and start seeing him or her as some kind of Great Almighty Judge and Holder of All Power, instead of as a person like yourself . . . who probably likes puppies and pizza, the Golden Rule—and potentially, you. Why not?

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