I have no intention of smile-shaming anyone. I know people- women especially- get told all the time, “You should smile more.” I don’t want to make those with Resting Bitch/Asshole Face feel worse. All that being said, I am going to give you a piece of golden advice: during interviews, smile more.
This came into prominent focus for me during vet school interviews. We had a batch of 6 applicants to interview. They were all basically good, and then we had one candidate who really grabbed my attention. Her answers were similar to the others, but she seemed more engaged and interested in the whole process. After her interview, my partner and I said to each other, “Did you notice how much she was smiling?” It made her interview instantly better and her more likable.
Dozens of job-focused websites advocate smiling, probably all for reasons you know about. Our nonverbal cues are important. Smiling helps to recover from a gaffe. It influences first impressions. The science indicates smiling improves the likelihood of being shortlisted. Professional job advisers all advocate smiling.
One note of caution is to make sure your smile is genuine. And it should be! You’re excited to be interviewing for a position. Show that excitement and enthusiasm through your smile. You’re allowed to be nervous- nervous excitement can manifest in a smile. Realize that the interviewers are there to support you and not knock you down. Make sure your smile is genuine and not forced. If you’re not feeling it, don’t stick a plastic expression on. Try instead to find within yourself a reason to smile. You got an interview! That’s great!
I will also advocate that you smile during phone and video interviews. Even though those on the phone can’t see you smile, it alters the way you speak and this, amazingly, comes across over the phone. Video interviews obviously add the visual aspect, but it is amazing how often people forget basic interview tips. Remember this one- smile naturally during all interviews.
I understand it can be difficult. You may not have a naturally bubbly personality. Heck, I fall into this category. But when I am on an interview, I am genuinely happy to be there. I am excited to meet all the people I may be working with and find out what they have to say. I feel that excitement internally, so I just remind myself to display it externally. Try to find your inner cheerleader and let them out during the interview. Do you have strategies you use to smile more?