9 Ways to Be an Incredibly Likable Interviewee

Patti was interviewed by US News and World Report for body language tips on how to be an incredible likable interviewee.  See her tips highlighted in yellow below.

Actual article link:  http://money.usnews.com/money/careers/articles/2015/03/11/9-ways-to-be-an-incredibly-likable-interviewee

9 Ways to Be an Incredibly Likable Interviewee
Show you're more than qualified – you're a pleasure to work with, too.

Be the person everyone wants on their team.
By Laura McMullenMarch 11, 2015 | 10:36 a.m. EDT+ More

If hired, will you say "hi" and "bye" most days and be friendly to both your manager and the person fixing your computer?
Will you show up to team happy hours and respectfully contribute in brainstorming meetings?
Will you humor us – but not smother us – with pleasant small talk about weekend plans?
Will I actually like you, regardless of how well you do the job, or will I have to strategically time my coffee breaks so I don't run into you?
These questions, while unspoken, can be as relevant to interviewers as your previous job experience. Here's how to answer them by showing you'll be a pleasure to work with.
Before the Interview
1. Consider what you want to convey. You shouldn't have to fake being likable. You're not forcing a toothy grin or trying to show the interviewer how similar the two of you are. You're simply showing you, authentically, at your best.
Patti Wood, body language and communication expert, suggests this pre-interview exercise: Write out what qualities the prospective company is looking for – some of which will likely be in the job description – and think about the specific behaviors that illustrate them. For example, in the interview, how can you show you work well with others, rather than just saying you do? Similarly, consider your best qualities and how you show, rather than tell, them. "You're looking at those abstract concepts and words and then translating them into specific behaviors," says Wood, author of "Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language & Charisma."
Consider the "works well with others" example. During the interview, "that might mean you show extremely good listening [skills]," Wood says, adding that you may also ask specific questions about the interviewer, such as his or her favorite project or aspect of the job. "And then listen to that empathetically, so you're actually behaving as someone who works and communicates effectively with others," she adds.
2. Stay in character during your mock interview. Which means, yes, you should rehearse the interview with a friend, family member, mentor or career counselor. This exercise is helpful for many reasons, one of which is the more you practice describing your biggest weakness, for example, the more comfortable you'll be while doing so on interview day. And the more comfortable you are, the easier it is to be yourself – not some stiff, scripted interview robot that spits out algorithmic answers and malfunctions when it can't compute a question. Speaking of which ...
During the mock interview, "don't step in and out of character," says Michelle Tillis Lederman, author of “The 11 Laws of Likability” and CEO of the professional development firm Executive Essentials. "Stay in character the whole time as you recover from those mistakes." This is more practice for the real interview, when do-overs won't be an option.
3. Bust nerves, and boost excitement. It's hard to hit it off with someone who is frozen in nervousness or solemn under the weight of this potentially life-changing, probably doomed, super scary meeting. A comfortable, happy you is a likable you, so loosen up. When you're feeling nervous the day before or on the way to the interview, listen to a song that makes you feel "comfortable and confident," Wood says. "What song, when you hear it, you can't help but feel good?" she asks. That's the one to listen to. (Wood's go-to song before giving a big speech is Pink's "Raise Your Glass.")
In the days leading up to the interview, also practice positive visualization. "Create a recording in your head of the interview going well," Wood says. "Under stress, you go to what you've rehearsed the most," she explains, which means you'll likely jump to those premeditated, successful actions come interview day. This U.S. News Careers article about how to spend the hour before your interviewexpands on positive visualizations and other nerve-neutralizing steps.
During the Interview
4. Be kind from the get-go. "The interview starts the minute you walk through those circular doors and into the building," ​​Tillis Lederman says. Be friendly to the security guard, receptionist and whomever else you encounter. Companies sometimes ask receptionists what they thought of the candidates to get a sense of how they act without the rehearsed niceties that come with talking to a hiring manager, and Tillis Lederman warns: "Some receptionists have basically eliminated candidates' possibilities."
5. Embrace the small talk. It's not as small as you may think. Naturally engaging in a little chitchat is one way to build rapport with the interviewer, Tillis Lederman says. Remember: The interviewer is not only looking at your qualifications and experience; she's also trying to picture you as a future employee, possibly sharing a cubicle wall and discussing weekend plans.
Plus, "you have to think about the fact that the interviewer might be nervous, too," she says. And that interviewer will remember how you made her feel at ease with some breezy weather talk before having to launch into more serious questioning.
Just like you can prepare for common interview questions, you can prepare for interview small talk. "As you're coming into the interview, think about what's been in the news lately, think about the weather, think about the general vicinity of the office and what's around it," Tillis Lederman says. "It doesn't have to be brilliant small talk. We're just talking about chatting and being real with someone."

 6. Match the interviewer's pace. There's a range in how quickly people talk. On the two extremes, there are "rabbits," Wood says, who talk really really fast and LOUD without taking breaks, like they're attached to an IV of coffee. And there are turtles, who ... talk ... more ... slowly ... and ... think ... before ... speaking. Those two paces don't initially jibe. (Think of the contempt you feel when an overly enthusiastic telemarketer calls you at 8 p.m., as you're relaxed on the couch. The mismatched pace and demeanor is jarring, Wood points out.)
"We tend to like somebody who is our same pace, especially in the beginning and end of the interview," Wood says. So be aware of the pace you typically speak at, and then try to match the pace of the interviewer for the for a minute or so. "Think of it like a handshake you're doing to establish rapport and have people feel comfortable and at ease with you," she says.
By matching the interviewer's pace, "you're showing 'I've listened to you; I've paid attention to you; and I know where you are, and I'm meeting you there," Wood adds. "It also puts you in the right place, because you're not self-focused – you're other-focused."
7. Lean in. Wood points to a common scenario in interviews: You're asked a question, and as you give your prepared answer, stress causes your body to freeze in the chair, "like a squirrel in the headlights," she says. "A trick is to, as you start to answer, lean forward slightly," she says. The effect of pulling your head, torso and gestures just an inch or two closer is two-fold, Wood says: Your brain unfreezes that stiff body language, and the interviewer perceives the leaning as a sign that you like him or her, therefore making you more likable.
8. Don't sweat mistakes. Staying in character during the rough patches of your mock interview will pay off now, when you – sorry – likely make at least a minor goof during the actual interview. "When we are ourselves, we're not perfect," Tillis Lederman says. "Interviewers want you to know it's OK to be a little flawed." If you can handle a mistake "and still appear confident and comfortable," she says, you show the interviewers you're not easily frazzled in high-stress situations.
After the Interview
9. Follow up like you mean it. In this article about following up after interviews, career experts say you should send thank-you emails soon – as in, within a day of the interview. And no generic blanket email to everyone you met with. Individualize the letters to reference a specific topic or two that you and the interviewer discussed. "It's not about you; it's about them," Tillis Lederman says. "It's about how do you add value for them, and how do you create an ongoing rapport with them."

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.