Author Archives: bizcombuzz

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


Navigating Work-Life Boundaries When Colleagues Party… Handling Cryptic Notes from the Boss… 5 Dos and Don’ts During Internships

Navigating Work-Life Boundaries When Colleagues Party

At the end of the business day, some organizational cultures move the office to the bar, drinking together long into the night as coworkers talk about work and more. Many times, the night out ends just hours before employees are expected to be back at their desks in the morning. But if tipsy colleagues are closing the bar, new-hires who wish to have a clear boundary between life and work should be mindful of the consequences of socializing and drinking at after-hours gatherings.

Many workers realize that important conversations about business occur during these late-night events, so they feel obligated to attend and go against their “don’t get drunk at work events” policies. But breaking such rules ultimately causes the reluctant partyer to feel resentment. Experts advise that workers set their boundaries, even if they will miss out on consequential conversations. As new employees become more ensconced in the organization, they should look for alternatives to after-hours activities. After all, the “don’t get drunk at work events” policy has merit and shouldn’t be abandoned despite what others are doing.            

Gay, R. (2022, December 14.) It’s happy hour, not “happy every hour.“ The New York Times. Retrieved from

Dealing with Cryptic Notes from Boss All Part of The Job

Young professionals are often confused when they receive this curt message from their bosses: pls fix. It’s a buzzword, especially in consulting or finance, that is shorthand for fix this ASAP and don’t mess up like this again. It’s so frequently used that the term has entered the Urban Dictionary.

Other iterations exist: please action or make better. Whatever the note says, it lacks specificity but it means the recipient should drop everything and return a new version of whatever the boss has sent. The time of day (or night) these messages arrive means nothing to the manager, who expects that the employee will jump on the request and somehow figure out how to improve the task.

Those who work in high-powered industries such as finance and consulting need to be able to figure out what’s wrong and what it takes to get it right. Sanchit Wadhawan, a 25-year-old consultant in Atlanta, received an urgent pls fix message from his boss on a Friday night with an attached 50-slide PowerPoint. Wadhawan figured out the problem–too many fonts, inconsistent colors—and made the fixes. As a high achiever in a demanding job, he says this sort of work ethic is de rigueur.

So far, the practice appears to be confined to these two demanding industries.

Ellis, L. (2022, October 10.) The two words that terrify junior employees. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from

5 Dos and Don’ts During Internship

Deloitte, one of the Big Four accounting firms and a frequent hirer of college interns, offers up advice for a successful internship experience.


  • Be prepared. Dress appropriately and always take notes at meetings.
  • Ask questions. Clarify any doubts with a more senior staff member so that you can do your job.
  • Be proactive. If you’ve finished a task, ask team mates what else you can do to be helpful.
  • Add value. Go the extra mile and be a proactive team member by offering relevant suggestions.
  • Get involved. Participate in any social events at the organization, and take the opportunity to mingle and get to know colleagues.


  • Don’t be unprofessional. Accept feedback without taking it personally. Learn from mistakes and move on.
  • Don’t be late. Better to be a few minutes early than late.
  • Don’t let stress paralyze you. If faced with a challenge, ask for help.
  • Don’t lose your temper. The office is no place for a temper tantrum.
  • Don’t be a pessimist. A can-do attitude will net better results.

Deloitte. (2019). Decisions Magazine, Issue 12. Retrieved from





Social Media and the Job Search: A Dynamic Duo

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a new graduate in search of a good job must possess a carefully managed social media presence.

Although Jane Austen would have cringed to see the first sentence of Pride and Prejudice paraphrased thus, the simple truth is that social media play an oversized role in business and communication today. In fact, a well-managed social media presence has become as critical to the job search as a good résumé and cover letter. Of course a solid LinkedIn profile is mandatory, but knowing how to use other social media platforms to build a career is just as important, and business communication instructors are in a perfect position to prepare students for this key job search tool. Below are pointers to share with students about social media do’s and don’ts.

Using social media as a part of the job search entails cultivating profiles that would be attractive to a future employer. Hiring managers examine applicants’ social media carefully, and any post that could be construed as unprofessional, that puts the individual in a bad light, or that could be misunderstood in a negative way should be removed. Even on platforms that are kept private, savvy users understand how people within a network are connected and that such connections could lead back to the user and expose compromising information.

Although every platform need not be career-friendly, it is wise to analyze what each platform is known for and how presence on that platform could cause a viewer to react. Below are some guidelines to using the most common social media platforms in an effective job search.


After LinkedIn, Facebook is usually the first go-to network hirers will look at. Therefore, job seekers should do the following:

  • Understand the intricacies of Facebook’s privacy policies to ensure that anything they don’t want their grandmas (or a hiring manager!) to see is private.
  • Check one’s privacy measures from someone else’s device.
  • Take advantage of job opportunities posted on a firm’s Facebook pages.
  • Join Facebook groups relevant to career aspirations.


Instagram is known as an excellent brandbuilding network, and, consequently, anything posted can show a hiring manager a lot about an individual. Specifically, Instagram can be used to accomplish the following:

  • Showcase creative portfolios (art, graphics, writing, etc.).
  • State career goals in a short and to-the-point bio.
  • Provide a link to professional presence on LinkedIn.


Using Twitter as it goes through its ever-evolving shake-ups can be risky. Still, it remains a popular network for employers to view how the user behaves online. When using Twitter, take the following steps:

  • Create a professional bio.
  • Indicate skills and interests by linking to legitimate sources.
  • Add original business-related content.
  • Use caution when commenting by showing courtesy and decorum.
  • Follow relevant hashtags and keywords (i.e., companies, industry leaders, etc..
  • Learn about Twitter’s privacy policies.


During the pandemic, TikTok became a great resource for job seekers in addition to offering career-building ideas, inspiration, and advice. TikTok can be useful to achieve the following:

  • Connect with industry leaders.
  • Respond to ads employers have uploaded.
  • Upload job search materials within the app.
  • Obtain information on virtually any topic.

A rule of thumb across all platforms is to demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly and concisely. That means carefully checking for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes before posting anything.

Following these tips just may lead a happy ending—just like in Pride and Prejudice.


Source: Weidinger, S. (2022, December 12.) Career building through social media: Do’s and don’ts. The Washington Post. Retrieved from