The Art of Persuasion in Your Job Search
Ill: Leonard Campbell Taylor, via Wonderlane/Flickr (CC)
Charles Purdy | Monster+HotJobs senior editor
January 06, 2011
Persuasion is a subtle art—brute force doesn’t often work well. And this is especially true for a job seeker, who is using interviewing skills and a resume to try to persuade hiring managers and recruiters to hand over something that a lot of people are competing for (that great new job).
Here are some persuasion tricks and techniques you can use to sway opinions in your favor:
The power of liking people
Even hiring managers are people—and all people want to be liked. Chris St. Hilaire, the author of “27 Powers of Persuasion: Simple Strategies to Seduce Audiences & Win Allies,” says, “I’ve found that just thinking to myself, ‘I like those people,’ changes the way I feel about them. I get this smile on my face, and—with some exceptions—all of a sudden everyone tends to like me.”
Do a bit of research about the person you’re meeting with—has she (or her company) recently achieved something you can comment on appreciatively? You have the power to make her feel good—and that makes you more persuasive.
Mirror the interviewer
Pay attention to how the interviewer speaks and acts—if he speaks slowly, for instance, match his pace. Even try sitting in a similar position; these subtle posture shifts can make him subconsciously feel more comfortable with you. But move slowly, and be careful about mirroring too exactly—it can be perceived as mockery.
You should also “mirror” with your resume—make sure to use language similar to that used in the job description (and on the employer’s website and so on).
Master the handshake
In her book “10 Make-or-Break Career Moments: Navigate, Negotiate, and Communicate for Success,” Casey Hawley says that the perfect handshake has four parts, which she describes as “webs, grip, shake, and eye contact”: When you shake hands, your hand’s web (the soft skin between your thumb and forefinger) should touch the web of the other person’s, she says. Your grip must be firm, you should shake two or three times, and you should make direct eye contact.
Practice your handshake with friends until you’re confident that yours is just right.