The job interview…

It’s that ominous space that separates your accepted job application and the job offer. And it doesn’t depend – at least not entirely – on your technical skill.

In the end, whether or not you land the job offer you’re hoping for depends on how much your interviewers know, like, and trust you after your short meeting.

This post complements two others in this series “How to make yourself irresistible in a job interview.” Part one: The 3 crucial ways to prepare introduces you to the KLT factor and shares 3 ways you can help your interviewers like you more before they even meet you.

Part two: 4 Strategies that help people know, like, and trust you takes you through 4 things you can do during your job interviewer to help connect more effectively with your interviewers. Here’s the short list:

  • Be interested

  • Ask for a favour

  • Talk about what interests the other person

  • Be empathic

Here, as promised in the title, you’ll get 4 more strategies that help people know, like, and trust you. Get ready to make some new fast friends…

Strategy #1: Use flattery

Everyone likes to receive sincere compliments. When we hear that we are appreciated, respected, or admired by someone else, we will automatically like them more. Period.

One caveat: this strategy will backfire if the other person questions your motivation. If they think that you are “just saying that” as a way to manipulate, undermine, or demean either them or someone else, they will want to distance themselves far from you.

So, choose to say something to your interviewer that you actually think is great about them as a person or about how they conduct themselves. Here are a few ideas:

  • “I appreciate that you actually listened to my answers during our interview today. Thank you for sharing that skill with me.”

  • “You did a great job of putting me at ease during the interview. Thanks for making me feel so welcome.”

  • “That is a great question; thanks for asking it.”

By showing yourself to be a person who notices and appreciates the positive attributes in others, you present a picture of a person who is great at building up those around them, who has a positive view of the people around them, and who actually wants others to know how their efforts have positive affect.

Isn’t that the kind of person you would want working for your organization?

Strategy #2: Embarrass yourself

You’re thinking:

“This is ridiculous. Why would I ever want to embarrass myself at a job interview?”

Here’s why: People like imperfection in others.

When someone presents themselves as perfect and infallible, they are unrelatable, suspicious, and seen as untouchable by others. None of these characteristics makes for an ideal hire.

But, someone who can laugh at their follies and admit their quirks is perceived as approachable, honest, and confident.

To embarrass yourself properly all you need to do is offer one slightly self-depreciating comment (there is NO REASON to go overboard here – ONE example is plenty).

The beginning of an interview is a good time to embarrass yourself, just a little. If I were heading into an interview and the interviewers ask me how I’m doing (which I can almost guarantee they will), I would consider saying something like this:

  • “Well, I didn’t trip over the rug on my way over here, so I’d say I’m doing great!”

  • “I’m having a great day. For once I didn’t spill any coffee on my clothes before I left the house!”

  • “It’s been a good morning. While I was driving over here my favourite song came on the radio. Of course I was belting it out, and when I looked over at the car beside me, they were watching me sing! I just smiled, and kept right on singing!”

Whatever it is you choose to say, pick something honest. Being aware of your own eccentricities and showing that you are comfortable enough to talk about them shows that you are confident – and HUMAN.

You might be surprised that one of your interviewers has had a similar experience. If you’re lucky, they’ll even mention it as a reply. And that’s when you know that you’ve started to connect before the interview questions even start.

One last reminder: DON’T overdo it. You want to be seen as relatable and just one little comment is all you need to accomplish that.

Strategy #3: Use physical touch

Touch is the first sense that we develop. It is as foundational to existence as is breathing, sleeping, and eating.

Laura Guerrero, coauthor of Close Encounters: Communication in Relationships, researches nonverbal and emotional communication at Arizona State University. She has found that touch increases the speed of communication and her research shows that “we feel more connected to a person if they touch us.” (You can check out a list of her scholarly work here.)

So what’s the simplest way to use touch in a job interview? The handshake.

When you think about it, shaking hands when you meet another person is kind of a strange custom.

The practice originates from a time when people walked around with swords strapped to their sides, held in a cases called scabbards. The scabbard hung on the left side, meaning that swords would be drawn with the right hand should they be needed.

By extending the right hand as a greeting, people then were essentially saying “I wish no harm upon you.” It was a simple way of proving that you came in peace and were not holding a weapon.

To get today’s handshake right, you need to use a firm grip (but not too firm) to grasp the other person’s hand (not their fingers). Then, pump the hand twice. As you shake hands, look the other person in the eye to capitalize on that feeling of connection. And of course, smile.

Strategy #4: Make them feel good

Is there anyone in your life who you simply love to be around? (And if not, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate who it is that you spend your time with?)

Chances are that you love to be around that person because when you are finished spending time together, you leave feeling better than when you started.

When I was young and our family would go stay in another person’s home, my mother would always tell us that it was important to leave the space better than we found it – which was another way of saying, “Clean up after yourself and then some.”

It’s the same with every other conversation we have, job interview or otherwise. When we ensure that people feel better after speaking with us than they did before the conversation started, we can be assured that they will know, like, and trust us. It really is that simple.

Perfect your practice

You may have heard this saying:

“Amateurs practice until they get it right. Experts practice until they can’t get it wrong.”

Using your KLT skills in all of your interactions with others puts you on the path of becoming an expert. And it certainly positions you to increase your KLT factor during your next interview when the stakes are higher.

Here’s the quick list of all 8 strategies from the first article and this one:

  • Be interested

  • Ask for a favour

  • Talk about what interests the other person

  • Be empathic

  • Use flattery

  • Embarrass yourself

  • Use physical touch

  • Make them feel good

Choose one to focus on today and build from there. As you practice, we expect you’ll not only be more confident during your next interview, but that you’ll meet great people and cultivate some awesome relationships along your way.

Looking for more ways to build your career? Check out some FREE online learning that can help you learn to resolve cultural misunderstandings in your workplace.



About Marie:

Marie Gervais, PhD, CEO Shift Management is a business-to-business entrepreneur who specializes in helping employers train their middle management to lead, get their workplace learning online and interactive, and conduct team assessments to figure out who to promote and how. She has a background in integrating internationally-trained individuals to the workplace and has supported many businesses in their efforts to hire, retain, support and promote immigrant and diverse employees.

Get in touch – she would love to hear from you: or 780-454-5661