This week, the following headline grabbed my attention, “Bosses more likely to hire someone they fancy, study finds”. How could I not carry on reading...?
Sociologists from Northwestern University in the USA have found that interviewers at banking, law and management consulting firms consistently prefer applicants “they feel good around”. They cited how candidates use their leisure time, their background and self-presentation as crucial in their hiring decisions. More than this, they even went as far as saying that they would rather employ someone “who will be their friend or maybe even romantic partner” with whom they feel a “spark” than someone who leaves them cold.
This is not to say that these individuals are unqualified or unskilled, but rather that employers are not so hung up on skills that likeability and common interests go out of the window.
Is this good news or bad?
I think this is really an area where FreshMinds’ candidates come into their own. The candidates that we meet here at FreshMinds are a genuinely interesting bunch. More often than not, I leave interviews inspired by candidates’ stories of entrepreneurial drive, business ventures, hunger to learn and impressive extra-curricular achievements, alongside achieving their first class degree. But to help you to engage with your interviewers, leave them excited by your application and keen to hire, I’ve included my top tips below to ensure you leave the right impression.
I don’t think your interviewer needs to fancy you (so no inappropriate outfits please!) but do make sure you come fully equipped with a whole arsenal of interview weapons, not just your key skills.
My top tips
• Be interesting. Before you can talk about your interests, you need to make sure you have some! It’s important to have a range of extra-curricular interests behind you, from more team-focused activities to examples of independent success. This is often something that candidates struggle to keep up beyond university so the more you can stay involved in sports teams, entrepreneurial enterprises or attend networking events to keep up your interest in the wider world, the better you’ll come across. If you have a broad range of interests, chances are you’ll have something that an interviewer is interested in.
• Research your interviewer’s background. It is crucial that you find out as much as possible about your interviewer ahead of your interview. The more you know about their background, the more you’ll know which of your interests to talk about and dwell on. Were you at the same university or college? Do you have any shared connections on LinkedIn? Ask around within your own contacts to see if you can find anything out.
• Use your emotional intelligence. This is where a strong candidate can really excel. Listen carefully as you share your interests in your interview. Is there anything that your interviewer particularly picks up on? Do their eyes light up as you talk about varsity rugby? Could this be a clue that they once played in their long lost youth?
• Use Freshminds as much as possible. Our consultants will be able to fill you in on who you’re interviewing with, their backgrounds and what they are looking for in candidates. This is where using a recruitment consultancy can be really helpful. Use us – we’re here to help you. We carry out in depth briefing meetings with all of our clients and we work with many of them on an ongoing basis so we have a well-developed understanding of their backgrounds and priorities.
• Be honest with yourself. If you find yourself spending your whole interview talking about golf and you’re not even interested, this probably isn’t the role for you. This isn’t about being fake, rather it’s about showing your personality, what you’re passionate about and what gets you excited. Sharing this enthusiasm with your interviewer will get them excited about the prospect of working with you.