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How to Interview like you already have the job (Part 3)

I have a recruiting riddle for you: What is something everyone desires, no one can perform their job effectively without, and you have complete control over whether you possess it?

I’ll play the jeopardy theme song for a few seconds while you think about it.

….the answer: what is credibility.

(all those nights of watching Jeopardy will Gram paying off right here.)

If you want your next interview to be your best interview, harnessing your ability to showcase this powerful and persuasive trait is a necessity.

But, first, let’s do a quick review of parts one and two.

In part one, I talked about my conversation with a senior executive, highlighting how displaying confidence and humility traits is crucial but challenging. I defined a confidently humble leader and shared both the actions and impact a confidently humble leader can have at an organization and on their team.

In part two, I shared how interviews can feel uncomfortable due to the perceived imbalance of power.  And, if you want to make your next interview your best interview, you enter with curiosity, engage authentically, and exit with enthusiasm.

Entering with curiosity involves asking questions to gain more context and demonstrating emotional intelligence. Engaging authentically means explaining and exploring your experience and the role together, rather than trying to convince the interviewer. Exiting with enthusiasm is about communicating your genuine interest and leaving a memorable impression.


As I often do, let’s dig into this word, credibility,  before we talk about how to showcase it in your next interview.

Definition of credibility

Merriam-Webster’s definition of credibility is the quality or power of inspiring belief

Think on that for a minute.

Did you inspire belief during your last interview?

Did you present evidence to demonstrate your reliability and your trustworthiness?

Did you establish confidence in your competence and character?

Not easy to do in a 30 minute interview – which may actually be a 20 minute – after the pleasantries.

It is absolutely, 100% possible.

How do I know?

Because you are in control of your ability to showcase credibility in your next interview.


Credibility is a noun.

You can possess credibility and still lack the skills to demonstrate it during an interview.

Assuming you are one of the confidently humble leaders I’ve been talking with in part one and two, this means that there is a skills gap.

I’d like to help you close it.

In my experience, the corporate professionals who understand the 2 traits that raise your credibility will bust out of the candidate pack.


Credibility breaks down into 2 factors: likability and trust.

This is why you can have a great conversation with an interviewer and still not move forward to the next interview.

This is also why you can’t assume that your work with speak for itself.

To be credible, you want to demonstrate both: likability and trust

Likability

Likability (or likeability, there seems to be 2 accepted ways to spell it) isn’t about how popular you are. Likability, according to Merriam-Webster is the qualities that bring about a favorable regard. Or, pleasant.

From my executive recruiter seat, here’s what this looks like:

  • Easy to talk to/no jargon
  • Not arrogant
  • Flexible when things change/can go with the flow (it’s likely that things will change during an interview process)
  • Eye contact
  • Uses their hands (I share this little hack in my Interview Studio)

This is one of the reasons why I don’t think STAR stories (or it’s relatives: CARL, STARR) are enough in 2024.

That model doesn’t put emphasis on the importance/value/necessity of likeability.

Skeptical?

If so, when was the last time you wanted to hire someone that you couldn’t see yourself enjoying working alongside?


Trust

Merriam-Webster’s definition is: assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something; one in which confidence is placed.

One of the most effective ways a confidently humble leader builds trust during an interview is through the qualitative and quantitative evidence presented.

I realize that individuals may get hired because they talked about the right strategies and actions they took and character isn’t taken into consideration, but confidently humble leaders grow their influence and their career because of their character.

Your thinking: maybe, but my employer promotes people without character. Yes, its true. I’ve seen it too.

This means that there is a group of individuals hungry to be led by someone who has both the character and the strategic mindset of a confidently humble leader.

This means that you will stand out in the candidate pack when you demonstrate your trustworthiness during your next interview.

Confidently humble leaders build trust because they demonstrate these traits during an interview:

  • Honest
  • Reliable
  • Professional
  • Authentic
  • Accountable

A final note on the Intersection of Likability and Trust

If you’re wondering how to effectively convey your credibility in your next interview, here’s a few things to keep in mind.

You are relatable. When interviewers can relate to you more easily, you establish rapport more quickly, this makes it easier to build trust.

You are an open communicator. If interviewers feel comfortable with you, they are more likely to trust your answers and feel confident in your abilities.

You are competent: Demonstrating your expertise and knowledge instills confidence in your abilities. When interviewers trust your competence, they are more likely to view you as a credible candidate.

While you are preparing for your next interview, think about this intersection, and when you are confident that you have effectively communicated your credibility, I hope you take the time to enjoy that win, regardless of the outcome of single interview.

Get out there.

You’ve got this.