After conducting an interview last week, I came across a PR Week column by Korn/Ferry EVP Don Spetner that confirmed why the interview made me so uncomfortable. The applicant hadn’t mastered the personality basics to succeed in business–or at least in her job search.
During the interview, the applicant appeared obsessed with discussing the dysfunction of her former boss and colleagues. Even when I changed the subject by asking a different question, she eventually looped back to why she disliked her last job. Needless to say, there won’t be a second interview.
In his column, Don discusses the importance of being likable in business, noting that “nothing can kill a good career like a bad personality.” He also refers to the classic business book by Dale Carnegie. Written nearly 75 years ago, How to Win Friends and Influence People is full of common-sense advice, including these words that should have been on the mind of my interview candidate: “Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.”
Here are Carnegie’s “Six Ways to Make People Like You”:
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Remember that a person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- Be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves.
- Talk in the terms of the other person’s interests.
- Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.