I know you know the feeling when you’re on a roll in a job interview, answering everything, engaging, and there’s that ‘connection’ happening…it couldn’t be going any better… a one hour interview turns into three; they aren’t in a hurry for you to leave… you might even be introduced to someone walking by that there’s no need to introduce you to; they linger with you as you get your coat or wait for a cab. They are into you, there’s no doubt. Will you get the job? There’s no question being memorable matters to increasing your odds greatly. If this has ever happened to you, in some way, do you remember how that happened? Are you aware of it? If you are, or if you aren’t, being memorable can be a learned skill as much as it comes more naturally to some people.
In other words, you can up your memorability quotient by applying a few simple fundamentals in an interview setting.
Getting on the same wavelength as your interviewer is key to being memorable. Here are some simple suggestions:
Ask them about themselves. I don’t mean get intimate or familiar, but notice, ask questions and be curious about what they ask. People love to talk about themselves the most; second most, often, they love to talk about where they work. Notice what you see and be informed coming in so you can ask about the company, but also ask the recruiter what they think about the company, get their opinion. From there you can ask more questions. Ask a lot of good and thoughtful questions and you have a better chance of being remembered than if all you do is talk about yourself the entire time. Dale Carnegie said this, and it’s always stuck with me, that the way to be memorable is to ask people about themselves and get them talking. Genuinely listen to what they’re saying, be curious in your conversation, and find relatability.
Be nice to the receptionist. It’s basic decency to be kind to everyone you meet when you go for an interview, but you might choose also to make a good impression on the receptionist. She or he is not just part of the company culture, they are the first line of defence. If you don’t make a good impression with them, that gets noticed and talked about. Receptionists do a lot more than they’re often given credit for, being the eyes and ears of companies before people step into the meeting room. In reality, they are your first interview, as leaders will ask them how they were treated on your arrival.
You’re going to have to talk about yourself, so give examples. Research says stories are 22x more memorable to people than lists, bullet points and technical information. Put your resume into a story and make your examples in the interview more story driven. It’s the natural way to relate information anyway, and it’s going to give you a better chance at making yourself memorable.
Make eye contact. When you look away, other people will also look away, and it breaks their concentration. Hold their attention with your eyes. You don’t need to stare into their eyes (remember to blink) but always stay with the eyes and come back to them quickly. I know many people have a habit when thinking to look one way or the other, or even close their eyes to concentrate. The less you do this in an interview, the more you can control the perception of the interviewer and hold their concentration on the topic, rather than them thinking to themselves why you need to close your eyes all of the time to concentrate.
Mirror their style. In an interview you want to mirror the style of your interviewer, since reflecting themselves back to them builds quick rapport and trust. If you don’t pay attention to this, a large degree of connection (and your advantage and control of the interview) is lost. Because it’s in your interest to build rapport and attention quickly, start to mirror your interviewer’s body language, like a crossed leg, one hand over another, little things. If they are relaxed and laid back, conversational, then you’ll want to mirror this in the interview. If they are direct and to the point, on a schedule you can feel, then mirror this in your body language and language style. They lead, you follow. You win.
If some of this is hard for you for any reason, you aren’t alone. But these are things you can master with practice. In an interview setting it’s important to make the interview yours as much as possible. Being more in control with these simple tips will give you a much better chance of being unforgettable.
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