You are an ambitious, career-driven person who has worked hard to get to the position that you are in. You are ready for the next step, but there is just one thing standing in your way: the job interview. You know that you have the technical ability to ace the interview, but you lack that X-factor, that special sauce that seemingly has been holding you back while your colleagues have been handed opportunities. Well, no more. You are ready to level up your communication and develop your charisma in a job interview to bag the job of your dreams. If you are ready, then book your discovery call now by clicking below:
What are the Secrets to Charming a Job Interview?
To be charismatic in a job interview, you have to do the following:
- Create a strong first impression
- Project positive body language
- Build rapport
- Tell stories for your answers
- Show vulnerability
- Inject humor
- Ask good questions
- Be authentic
Why Charisma is Important for Job Interviews
In a perfect world, those who are the best at their job, with the relevant experience and qualifications, get the job. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world; those who are incompetent, friends with the boss, or that the interviewer ‘just liked’ can end up in great jobs that YOU deserve. What did they have that you didn’t? They were able to build a relationship, instantly have trust, and convey competence; they did this through their charisma.
They sold themselves to the interviewer, just like a used car salesman sells a used Toyota to a granny! You need to give yourself a competitive edge by using the same tactics.
What to Do Before the Interview
Sometimes you are interviewing for a role within your organization, so you have an advantage as you can find out who the interviewer is and arrange to meet with them BEFORE the interview to do some networking. You can reach out to them as such:
I am one of the candidates for the upcoming interview. I wanted to reach out to arrange a quick coffee to learn a little more about the role and see what I can bring to the table.”
Even if you are not applying for a role within your company, more HR departments will tell you the names of your interviewers. You can either:
- Find them on LinkedIn and message them
- Find their email and email them
- Call the company and ask to be transferred to them
If you are successful in getting a meeting, do not use it as an opportunity to tell them how great you are. This meeting is all about building rapport with them, so you will need to make THEM the star of the show. The goal is to build up some fondness before the interview so they already have a degree of likability towards you, which will subconsciously go in your favor. You want them to be thinking, “I don’t know what it is, but I liked them?”.
The 6 Secrets to Being Charismatic in a Job Interview
Let’s break down each of the secrets of how to be charismatic in a job interview.
Create a Positive First Impression
It’s true what they say: first impressions matter, and it is an easy element to overlook in an interview. Organizations are looking for people who make an impact, who they know can do the job, and whom they can trust. You can present yourself this way by making a good first impression:
- A genuine smile
- Appropriate clothing
- Eye contact
A genuine smile can portray warmth and approachability and has the power to make the other person smile and feel good, all great qualities in a successful candidate. Eye contact is a powerful trust-building tool; when you make eye contact with someone, you release a chemical in their brain called oxytocin, also known as ‘the bonding hormone.’ The interviewer will start to trust and build a fondness towards you before you have even opened your mouth. The saying goes, ‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you have,’ and it is so true! Whether we like it or not, people judge a book by its cover, so while Crocs may be a comfortable choice, dress for the interview to convey competence, professionalism, and suave!
Convey Competence Through Body Language
During the interview, you will want to present yourself as someone confident, competent, and known for getting results. Your body language plays an important role in being charismatic during the interview; the challenge you will have is, I guarantee your body is doing things without you even realizing; it’s because you do them every day instinctively.
I remember one time when I was with a client, I would always hug my leg when I was sitting down and rock back and forth, and I had no idea that I did this until one client said, “You know you’re rocking back and forth like a crazy person.” I was so embarrassed, and from then on, I was very cautious about what my body was doing and took control of it.
Body language to avoid in a job interview:
- Improper handshake
- Crossed arms
- Looking off into space
If you want to come across as impactful, then you will need to incorporate hand gestures into your interview body language. Hand gestures are one of the most overlooked methods of increasing charisma; you can communicate your message better and emphasize your points more effectively, all while building trust with the other person. Humans LOVE hand gestures, and a calculated one can leave the interview feeling like you are the one for them!
Build Rapport with the Interviewer
During the interview, there are not a lot of opportunities to build rapport with the interviewer because they are asking you the questions, not the other way around. In an ideal world, see the initial point of trying to meet the interviewer beforehand. If this is not possible, then here are your opportunities:
- Before the interview begins
- Once the interview ends
Before the interview begins is the best opportunity; in every interview, there is always an element of ‘small talk’ that takes place before they get down to business. They are usually asking questions such as:
- “Did you get parked ok?”
- “Did you find the building ok?”
- “Were you working beforehand?”
You want to use this opportunity to be friendly, build rapport, and come across as personable. Look to ask questions such as:
- “So, how long have you been working here?”
- “What do you do in this team/department?”
- “What made you work for this company?”
You want them to open up and start talking about themselves.
Once the interview ends, there is an opportunity to have a last chance to make an impact and showcase your charisma. There will be a little bit of small talk once the interview is concluded, and they will ask something like:
- “What are you doing after this?”
- “Do you have many interviews lined up?”
- “What do you do outside of work?”
Once again, you want to ask them questions. You can keep it professional; however, you have at this point spent a bit of time together, so feel free to ask interesting questions to see if you can find some common ground.
Tell Stories Not Facts
Most interviews are competency-based questions, which means they are going to ask you questions that invite you to tell a story or share an experience. This will take the form such as:
- “Can you tell me a time when you dealt with a difficult person?”
- “Can you tell me about a time you showed leadership?”
- “How do you like to attack a new project?”
You can tell great stories by using the STAR method for interviews. STAR stands for:
S = Situation (What is happening)
T = Task (What did you need to do)
A = Action (What did you do)
R = Result (What was the result of your action)
Use this method to tell better stories for your interview answers.
People love stories; it can help them visualize the challenges and make the positives and negatives feel so much more powerful. Rather than listing all your qualifications, tell them a story about your journey to achieve them. Rather than saying you are a high achiever, tell them a success story. Rather than sharing your performance stats, tell a story about a stat that you are proud of and how you achieved it. It will go so much further and boost your charisma.
A key component of charisma is to be able to show vulnerability. During an interview, people like to present themselves as ‘perfectionists’ that have easily dealt with any adversity. The problem with that is it’s not authentic. Vulnerability is important when it comes to charisma because it humanizes us, makes us more relatable, and people like those who are like ourselves.
Showing vulnerability is allowing the other person to connect over emotion, which is 10x more powerful than just logic.
When the interviewer asks you:
- What is your biggest weakness?
- Tell me about a time when something didn’t go to plan.
- What mistakes have you made and how did you overcome them?
It may be your instinct to try and turn a negative into a positive or boast about how flawless you are, but avoid this. Open yourself and be a bit vulnerable with a genuine moment you can share. The interviewer will appreciate it and identify with it because everyone can relate to a moment where they said the wrong thing at the wrong time, made a mistake, or had something go off track. Share it and explain how you use the experience to learn and grow from it.
Inject Humor Where Appropriate
Job interviews are naturally professional environments; the thing is 99% of candidates go in and just deal in facts and figures. You want to stand out and make yourself more personable by injecting a bit of humor where appropriate. The best opportunities to do this are:
- At the end of an interview
- When asked a personal question rather than a professional question
A personal question is like:
- What makes you unique?
- Describe your dream job.
- Define success.
You can inject a little bit of humor at the beginning of your answer as a way to introduce your serious answer, such as:
- What makes you unique – “you mean apart from being the yo-yo champion of 2009?”
- Describe your dream job – “What does Kim Kardashian do that looks like fun?”
- Define Success – “Sitting on a beach in Dubai with a cocktail”
It is a subtle, natural nod to a sense of humor which takes the interviewer slightly off guard while keeping things professional. It’s important to know to keep the jokes light, professional, and natural, nothing too risky.
Ask Killer Questions
Wait, the interviewer is supposed to be asking the questions, right? Well, that’s true, but at the end of each interview, they will pass the mic over to you to ask them any questions. That is your opportunity to ask questions to get them to think. When we are ‘challenged’ like when debating or having a deep conversation going back and forth, it releases chemicals in our brain called ‘dopamine,’ also known as the love hormone.
You can release dopamine in the other interviewer’s head by asking questions like:
- What positive changes or improvements have you witnessed in the team since you joined the company?
- How would you describe the most positive aspects of the company’s work culture?
- What excites you most about the company’s future direction and growth?
- In your opinion, what sets the company apart as a fantastic place to work?
You will want to avoid questions that make you look unprepared or uninterested, such as:
- When is payday
- What does the company do?
- Do you drug test employees?
Asking killer questions can make you stand out as a candidate and become more likable.
The overarching quality of being charismatic in a job interview is to be authentic. Now authenticity can be a vague term, such as “just be yourself,” which logically you understand, but what does it look like in practice? The simplest way to explain it is to have a set of values and conduct yourself in a manner that is in line with those values. Let’s look at a list of values:
- Integrity: Upholding honesty and ethical principles in all situations.
- Respect: Treating others with consideration, empathy, and dignity.
- Responsibility: Taking ownership of one’s actions and being accountable.
- Compassion: Showing kindness and empathy toward others, especially in difficult times.
- Courage: Facing challenges, adversity, or fear with determination and bravery.
- Loyalty: Remaining devoted and faithful to individuals, groups, or causes.
- Authenticity: Being true to oneself and maintaining genuineness in interactions.
- Equality: Valuing and promoting fairness, justice, and equal opportunities for all.
- Gratitude: Appreciating and expressing thankfulness for what one has and receives.
- Open-mindedness: Being receptive to different perspectives, ideas, and cultures and avoiding prejudice or closed-mindedness.
For example, let’s say you value compassion; throughout your day-to-day life and the interview, you would show kindness and empathy towards your interviewer, other candidates, and staff. If you didn’t value compassion and while you were waiting on your interview, you snapped at the receptionist because they spelled your name wrong, the interviewer wouldn’t see you as authentic, especially if you talked about how caring and kind you are to your colleagues.
Don’t be fake; that’s the easiest way to say it. You may be too honest, but the interviewer will appreciate your tenacity, which may go in your favor.
The PIE Theory
To successfully bag your dream job using charisma, then you need to understand the PIE theory which is:
P = Performance
I = Image
E = Exposure
The reason why you may get a job or promotion is down to the PIE theory, where your performance only counts towards 10% of the reason why you are promoted. Image contributes to 30%, which is how people perceive you; do they know what you do, and what you do has an impact on the team. Exposure is 60%, which is, do the decision-makers know who you are and the impact you are having.
You can see from this theory that if you put all your energy into leveling up your technical ability, getting good at your job, and working hard, you are only working on the smallest factor that contributes to job success. Charisma and relationship building can help you with your image and exposure, which will position you in the best way for the next opportunity.
In conclusion, mastering the art of charisma in job interviews is a game-changer for career success. These six dynamic secrets, encompassing everything from a winning smile to strategic storytelling, provide a roadmap for individuals aiming to unlock the full potential of “How to be charismatic in a job interview.” By advocating authenticity, encouraging vulnerability, and strategically infusing humor, this guide not only transforms interview skills but also underscores the transformative power of charisma. Beyond the interview room, charisma emerges as the secret sauce for building lasting relationships, earning trust, and ultimately propelling one’s career to new heights. The PIE theory—Performance, Image, and Exposure—resonates as a powerful reminder of the enduring impact of charisma in the professional landscape.