Are You Likable? Hint: It Impacts Your Job Search
Do you ever feel like landing the right job is like trying to find a needle in a haystack? Sure, the job you have brings in a paycheck, but is it the one you want? Ideally, you want to match yourself to a position with a company where you can succeed and be happy. That being said, when job hunting, it's important to keep in mind employers are also searching, hoping to find people who will be a good organizational fit—they're looking for a needle too.
Sure, they'll be checking out your work experience, employment history, and education, but they'll be gauging your soft skills too. This includes your likability, which can make or break your chances of getting the job. Employers try to ascertain just how likable you in various ways, including how you present yourself in the interview process, what references have to say and what people post about you online.
During The Interview Process
Realistically, employers are going to form thoughts about you the first time they interact with you, and they solidify their opinion during the interview process. Did conversations flow naturally or were the meetings awkward? Were there good vibes?
If you're worried about being too reserved, don't pretend to be an extrovert—it'll likely drag down your likability level if you aren't being genuine. Just be yourself. According to David Jensen, a writer and speaker on career issues, introverts who express interest and ask questions are often viewed as likable candidates. Even if you're introverted, your likability will shine through your mannerisms, politeness and other like attributes.
Bottom line, how you engage, such as the questions you ask and going beyond simple "yes" or "no" answers to engage interesting small talk will affect your level of likability, along with your body language, eye contact, and other social cues. Remember, first impressions matter, a lot.
What Do Your References Say?
If you have fantastic skills, anyone asked will likely be honest and forthcoming with this information, however, how will your references actually talk about you? Did you develop strong relationships at previous workplaces, and will people have glowing things to say beyond your work habits and experience? Or did you not participate, engage or get along with your bosses and colleagues? If it's the latter, chances are these past interactions will result in a "just the facts ma'am" attitude when asked about you. Hiring managers will hear the level of enthusiasm people have when they speak of you, so think about your professional relationships. If you're likable, an employer can usually gauge your authenticity when asking others about you.
What Do Your Social Networks Look Like?
During the hiring process employers also tend to consider your online reputation. It's been well documented: a growing number of employers routinely visit social networks to find out more about people they're considering hiring. Recent statistics suggest more than 70 percent of employers visit social networks and 37 percent of those specifically look to see what other people are writing about the candidate. You can be sure hiring managers will be checking social media and probably talking to people in your industry circles too; after all, you never know who knows who in any given professional community.
The main thing is to be yourself during the job search process. Focus on being genuine, don't manipulate details about yourself or say what you think employers want to hear. In the end, they'll see the difference. Don't get worked up before an interview and try to be someone you're not—in the long-run it will affect what a hiring manager thinks of you.
Oh, and if you do land the interview, remember to always follow up with a thank-you note. It's often the little things that affect your likability and could determine whether or not you get the job.
Fun fact: Between self-promotion and likability, the latter usually gets the better chance of being hired.