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12 Things You Should Say At Work To Become More Likeable

12 Things You Should Say At Work To Become More Likeable

Camaraderie is an important component of what keeps us going back to work. As humans, we have an innate need for social acceptance. The bulk of our days is spent in a social setting: the workplace! There is a strong need for us to like the people we work with (and for the people we work with to like us!)

How can you increase this likeability factor? Here are 12 simple phrases to use that will up the ante for you.

1. “Hi or Hello”

Before you roll your eyes at the simplest of phrases, hear me out. In my 15 years of professional life, a simple “Hi” has proven to be the most powerful. How? When you see someone, even someone you don’t know, acknowledge their presence with a Hi. This simple act of acknowledging another person’s presence is extremely powerful. I’ve seen people who avert their eyes or look down when they do not know you. It definitely appears rude on the receiving end. Every time you pass someone in the hallway, or in the break room, rest room, elevator, parking deck… irrespective of the place, acknowledge them with a Hi or Hello or Good morning.

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2. “Thank you”

Another simple but powerful phrase is a Thank You. No, a cursory thanking will not cut it. The Thank You has to be heartfelt. Even simple gestures like someone holding the elevator door or handing your mail, warrants a heartfelt thank you. People feel happy to be of help to others. By thanking them, you make them feel like they’ve been of service. This instantly makes them like you.

3. “How are you?”

3 simple words that convey the message that you care. At times it may be a conversation starter. At other times it may be an outlet for someone. I remember a few years ago, when I asked this simple question to a co-worker, the flood gates opened. She was going through a personal situation and did not have anyone to share it with. She viewed the “How are you” as an invitation to share and was able to open up. Sharing what she was going through gave her a huge relief. Giving that opportunity is a sure-fire way to get someone to like you more.

4. “I understand”

In the incident with my co-worker, all I did was to listen and say “I understand”. That’s all you need to do at times to help someone feel heard. Its not uncommon for people to feel frustrated as they come out of a meeting. They may feel like no one gets them or what they are trying to say or do. As they vent to you, acknowledge their thoughts and actions with an “I understand”. On the receiving end, your co-worker will feel a sense of relief to know someone else gets them.

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5. “How can I help?”

Asking someone how you can help lets people know that they are not alone, though that doesn’t necessarily translate to carrying someone else’s load. Still, asking opens the path to conversation. At times, all they may need is a listening ear. Talking about what is needed and being willing to help in any small way is impactful. I’ve come across people who are afraid to ask this question in case they are unable to deliver on the help that is asked of them; hence, they shy away from this question. Showing someone that you are willing to do something for them is a likeability booster.

5. “I believe in you”

This one is huge! People need someone to believe in them. Instead of masking that belief in actions that may or may not come across, just say it. As an example, a supervisor hands a piece of work and adds the words “I believe you can do this.” The fact that their supervisor trusts them with that piece of work is an ego boost for the individual. And will motivate them to do a good job and not let down their boss. I’ve personally done above and beyond when my boss has expressed her belief in my capabilities or trusted me with stretch assignments. And yes, I definitely liked my boss more after that!

7. “What I hear you saying is:”

Repeating what you just heard proves that you were paying attention. In this age of short attention spans, give someone your full attention and repeat the information back to them to confirm it. More likeable for sure.

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8. “Well Done”

I don’t understand why people find it difficult to say “Job Well done”. We dole insane amounts of “good job” to kids, but find it difficult to do it to adults. Personal rants aside, acknowledging someone for their effort is encouraging and motivating. We don’t have to give out plaques or other forms or rewards at all times.  Saying “Job Well Done” at an opportune time in front of the team is equal to or better than a plaque on the wall that no one sees. In turn, it causes people to like you more as you see their effort and their work.

9. “What do you think?”

A powerful way to show respect. Encourage others to share what they think and express their opinions. It causes them to feel included, feel respected and that their opinion matters. The people I like the most at work are the inclusive ones, the ones who show that they care enough about others to include them.

10. “Absolutely”

When you are given work, there are three ways to react to it. Not saying anything and doing it; not saying anything to the person but griping about it to others; and the third way is to respond with “Absolutely!”. Showing enthusiasm when asked to do something, causes an instant delight. And boosts your likeability index.

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11. “Great Question”

A common problem at workplaces is people hesitating to ask questions. They are afraid of getting shot down, laughed at or ignored. When someone is brave enough to ask a question, respect and acknowledge that with a “Great Question” comment. This will ease the nerves of the person asking the question and encourage them to clarify their doubts. In a large setting, it encourages others to open up as well. When you put someone at ease, it naturally causes them to like you.

12. “Tell me more”

A definite way of showing interest! Sometimes, it may be difficult to give someone the time you need at work to listen. When you sense a time consuming conversation, don’t cut off the person and walk away. Let them know that you are short on time, but you want to hear more. Tell them that you will reach out soon to find out more. And keep up the promise! Follow up with the person and find out more. Giving people your time and expressing interests again aids in increasing likeability.

What are some other common phrases that others have said to that make you like them?

Featured photo credit: Andrey/Imagefinder.co via imagefinder.co

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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