“All people smile in the same language.” – Proverb
You’ve revised your resume, created a flawless portfolio, hit the pavement to make relevant connections, and sent out what seems like hundreds of resumes.
Finally, after all that hard work you get the call you’ve been waiting for… you got the interview!
And not just for any regular job either, this one is for the role of your dreams.
Preparation is key! Before you go, keep scrolling to learn how your smile can differentiate you from a sea of candidates.
Interviewing is perhaps the most nerve-wracking step towards your dream job.
But remember this sage advice- a relaxed smile puts others at ease and conveys a sense of calm, control, and confidence.
In an interview, smiling can help diffuse a wrong answer, fill in the gap in a lull in conversation, or convey a sense of humor or playful sarcasm when appropriate.
Ultimately, it’s the quickest way to connect with your interviewer, who, if you’re successful, will likely be your direct supervisor.
While it’s your qualifications and skills that will seal the deal and land you the position, being the more likable and relatable candidate, can help sway a hiring manager’s opinion if there are plenty of applicants with similar resumes.
Job interviews aren’t to be taken lightly, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t smile.
Whether you’re participating in an in-person interview, or these days, it’s more likely that it’ll be a video or audio remote interview, smiling genuinely is the secret to making people like you.
Wait, how does that translate into a phone interview you might ask?
When you’re smiling, you naturally sound less threatening. If you’ve ever worked in retail, you may recognize the expression “hear your smile.”
While the person on the other line can’t see you smiling, they can actually hear it. Whenever you’re on the phone, make it a point to smile throughout the conversation. You will notice that people will be more receptive to your message, which in turn gives you the advantage of being more persuasive.
When discussing salary, the other party is more likely to agree to your offer because they will see that you are cool, calm, and in control… therefore you must be sure of what you are asking for.
Smiling conveys the message that you are poised and friendly. Remember, you’ll probably be working directly with whomever is interviewing you and you want to put your best foot forward and make a personable impression.
With remote interviews, especially for larger or growing organizations, it’s likely that you’ll be recorded. Recording an interview can make it easier for higher levels of management to review candidates without being present for the interview — and it also makes genuine smiling even more important and much more difficult, too if you’re feeling self-conscious.
Just remember to be yourself and smile naturally. Everything else will work out fine.
Fun fact: did you know that we start smiling at only five weeks old?
That said, not everyone knows how to do it effectively.
There’s a reason why those in the public eye, such as entertainers and politicians, rehearse and perfect their smiles – It’s crucial to their likeability and success. If you really want the job, this practice is critical for your success, too.
The goal of the interview is to demonstrate your competencies for the job and, it’s also to have the hiring manager like you. While that might seem unfair, they’re really ensuring that you’re suitable for the work culture that they’ve so carefully curated.
A recent survey of over 2,000 hiring managers conducted by Harris Interactive turned up some surprising factors that determined which candidates get hired most often and why.
In this survey, employers were asked what would influence them to choose one candidate over another, assuming the two candidates they were considering had the same credentials.
It turns out that most employers look at numerous, non-skill related attributes when selecting a candidate.
These traits resulted in a better chance of the candidate being successfully hired:
- Having a good sense of humor can give a candidate a 27% better chance. That said, be careful not to go overboard, or overstep with the humor. Company research is crucial before using humor in an interview.
- If the interviewer feels they have lots in common with the candidate, they have a 21% better chance of landing the job.
- If he or she is involved in their community, it increases their chances by 26%.
- Candidates who smiled were rated by their interviewers to not only be more likable and courteous, but more competent as a whole.
With these traits in mind, prepare for the interview following these steps.
First, practice answering questions with a smile and relaxed facial expressions in front of a mirror. Don’t overdo things. Your smile should be used as a complement to the points you’re making and not permanently plastered to your face in a way that comes off as disingenuous, or somewhat creepy.
After enough in-person interviews, you’ll be a smiling pro, but in the meantime, you need to get some practice in without any pressure.
Secondly, be sure to prepare ahead of time so you can relax before your interview. Arrive with plenty of time to spare (at least 15 minutes) and engage in interview prep activities, like jotting down some key points from your resume that you’d like to touch on, to help ease your nerves. Giving yourself a mental pep talk doesn’t hurt either – if you can boost your confidence it will allow that smile come more naturally.
And finally, give your smile some TLC.
When you smile during an interview, it’s inevitable that your teeth are going to take a starring role. If you’ve eaten before your interview be sure to take a glance in the mirror to ensure no leftover bits are stuck in your teeth. Similarly, if you decide to wear lipstick, take a check that your carefully picked color hasn’t transferred onto those pearly whites. Try to avoid an awkward “you have something in your teeth” moment.
If your smile isn’t snow-white, it may also be worth a whitening session or two leading up to the interview.
Good oral health helps with personal hygiene and aids in eliminating bad breath, a notorious conversation killer in any setting. Also, from an employer’s perspective, it shows that you take good care of yourself, therefore you’re more apt to put more effort into your role.
Finally, if you chew gum or mints, be sure to toss it out in plenty of time prior to the interview. Chomping and chewing during your interview is not only impolite, but it can also distract your interviewer from the words coming out of your mouth or cause your speech to be unclear.
Be sure to follow this helpful guide, and you’ll be well on your way to impressing your next interviewer and to landing that dream job.