What is a “connecter”? That’s someone who immediately establishes a strong and positive relationship when meeting someone new. Connecters have a huge advantage over those who struggle with their connection skills: The ability to bond with the hiring manager right from the start. Want some tips on how to connect better? Here are a few ideas.
First, look at the types of jobs that are dependent upon success by making a favorable first impression: Actor, top salesperson, politician, receptionist, CEO, and so on. Most are all relationship-oriented jobs, so think of the interviewing process as establishing a rapport with the hiring manager to demonstrate the expertise needed to succeed in the open job. Ponder what these relationship jobs do to ingratiate themselves to those they meet:
- Smile (not only your mouth but include your eyes)
- Project a warm, engaging and friendly persona
- Look them in the eye and slightly nod when they talk (but not too much)
- Choose words that are complementary like. “I’m very pleased to meet you” rather than “hello”
- If there is a connection with another person, phrase it is a positive way, “I’ve heard so much about you”. or “I’ve been looking forward to meeting with you”. This almost always will cause the other person to ask, “What have you heard?” or “From whom?”
- If there is a connection with another organization, you might say, “I’m aware of your outstanding work with the Cancer Foundation”, or “I’ve been very impressed with your writings”, which again prompts a response like, “Oh, which one” or “What article was the most meaningful?”
- Of course, anytime you cite a person, place or activity, be ready with a credible and complementary reply to their follow up question.
- Maintain an upbeat, positive and optimistic attitude, but not overly bubbly
- Use minimal hand gestures and never point or wag your finger at another person
Why are these skills necessary? Research has shown that the ability to establish an initial positive rapport will carry over to the interview itself. Those first few minutes will set the tone for the rest of the interview, either by telephone or person-to-person conversation. If you don’t get a callback after a telephone interview, either you didn’t come across as a warm individual who could fit into the team or your experiences don’t match what they’re looking for. If you get a one-on-one interview you know your experiences match the open position, then its more important than ever to establish yourself as a “connecter”.
You can normally sense if the interviewer is not a “small talk” person. They’ll not look you in the eye, questions or responses are short, and the interview moves along rapidly. In this case, don’t take the small talk too far. By all means respond in kind by giving short yet focused answers to questions and make sure your questions are task oriented around the issues to be solved.
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