I recently interviewed Chris St. Hilaire, a message strategist and author of “27 Powers of Persuasion: Simple Strategies to Seduce Audiences and Win Allies,” on how a candidate can seduce an interviewer into making a job offer.
Here are the tips he shared:
Accept the interviewer’s ideas and add yours. We tend to share our beliefs and views about how the world works when we’re conversing with others. This works great when both parties are in agreement. It backfires when your ideas or views are in opposition to the other person’s. This makes the other party feel threatened, judged or insecure. You can avoid this by changing your language. Here is an example:
Instead of: “I like your idea of project management by implementing the waterfall method, BUT, in my experience, the agile method works better.”
Use: “I like your idea of project management by implementing the waterfall method, AND, in my experience, the agile method could provide additional opportunities.”
The first statement negates the interviewer’s view and makes him feel threatened, while the second statement validates his idea and adds additional suggestions. This makes the interviewer feel safe, maintains rapport and makes it easy to see your point.
Speak the same language. Chris recommends using the same language the interviewer is using. When you do this, it helps the interviewer feel included and psychologically, it tells his subconscious brain, “This person is just like me.” That’s the feeling you want to generate, because people tend to hire candidates to whom they can closely relate.
Find something to like about the interviewer. Chris suggests that if you find something in common, the other person will generally like you back. In my own experience, my clients tend to like the interviewer before a job offer is ultimately made, but when they don’t feel a connection, the meeting doesn’t go well and they often don’t get hired. You can change your results by finding something you have in common that you can like and respect in the other individual.
These points are all about maintaining rapport with the interviewer, the most essential step in a successful interview. Try these out in your next conversation, at a networking event, in an interview, or with your spouse or partner and notice the difference it makes in your ability to persuade the other party to your point of view.
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