Likability as Important as Skills in Interviews

Does the thought of an interview make you grumpy? Remote? Aloof? Overly nervous? Those reactions can kill your chances even if you have the right credentials for the job. It turns out that likability—being pleasing to others—is just as, if not more, important as skills when it comes to landing a job.

Likability has many faces. It can mean having charisma, being warm, and making others feel comfortable. In the workplace likability includes intangible factors such as being easy to work with and having a positive attitude and more concrete ones such as possessing good listening skills and performing as a reliable team member.

Some people are blessed with natural likability, which pays off during a job interview. Others must work to attain the quality. Below are unlikable behaviors to avoid during a job interview.

  1. Bragging. During an interview, people naturally want to boost their image. However, overdoing it is a likability killer. Avoid droning on about every good quality you may possess; the better strategy is to focus on a few powerful defining characteristics that can be buttressed with stories and examples illustrating those properties.
  2. Being self-centered. In may sound counter-intuitive to not talk about oneself, but interviewers would rather answer questions than listen to blatant self-promotion. During the interview, the candidate should concentrate on the audience’s needs (i.e., the people conducting the interview) and show interest in what they say.
  3. Overconfidence. Candidates should avoid oozing arrogance and assuming they already have the job. Modesty wins over brash confidence. Instead of saying I have everything you’re looking for and When do I start?, opt for the more humble I believe I could handle the job responsibilities and Thanks for your time. I look forward to your decision.
  4. Being distant. Interviews can be intimidating, but if answers to questions are terse, the candidate will come across as distant. Similarly, any skilled interviewer can sniff out canned answers. Being authentic—even admitting nervousness—will work better than allowing anxiety to curb the natural flow of conversation.
  5. Being too casual. While coming across as relaxed in an interview is beneficial, being overly casual is not. That means arriving on time, dressing professionally for the industry, thanking the recruiter, and sending a post-interview thank you note. It also means using more formal language. A slangy greeting such as Hey, how’s it going, bro? should be replaced with the more formal It’s nice to meet you.
  6. Misreading the audience. Recruiters or hiring managers will be turned off if candidates talk about other job offers or do not show adequate interest in the current position. Rather than asking what the organization can offer, interviewees should talk about what they can give to the firm.

It’s probable that most job seekers will be interviewing for the rest of their professional careers. Learning to be likable is well worth the time.


  1. Name traits that make an individual unlikable.
  2. What are some actions a person can take to become more likable?
  3. Why is practicing answers to typical interview questions a good idea?


Reference: Humphrey, J. (2023, January 9.) 6 common mistakes that sabotage your likability in a job interview. FastCompany. Retrieved from


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