I'm told I "lack presence"

I'm on the job hunt. I'm landing interviews but not offers. I was recently told by an acquaintance that I "lack presence" -- that I didn't leave a particularly memorable or engaging first impression.

Okay. Fair enough. I get a little nervous meeting people for the first time. I'll admit I don't have a really chummy personality or amazing gift of gab. So I'm nervous he might be right. And worse, I do honestly fear that it's hurting my job prospects.

Any thoughts on this. Anyone here know anyone equally plagued by "lacking presence"? What can I do to improve?

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Comments (28)

Aug 1, 2013 - 11:14am

By the sounds of it, you just seem distant, unengaged, quiet, shy, boring. Practice public speaking, engage your audience, and actually believe what you're saying. You don't need to be a social butterfly on steroids but you have to have something intriguing about you. Stick out (but in a good way). Maybe try some brighter apparel? I don't know. Good luck.

Best Response
Aug 1, 2013 - 11:55am

CRE's (Semi-Serious) Guide to Having Presence in Interviews (With Extra Expletives for Effect)

Listen up, slidejockey, you nervous, non-talkative, sweaty, meek little man, because I am a behind-a-keyboard badass and I am going to save you from yourself and your homoerotic WSO name with fingers from god. (ladies, take notice too). I thought about giving you over the top sarcastic advice such as betting your employment on shotgunning bottles of whiskey against the interviewer or telling him that you want to be his boss someday or fucking backhanding him across the face to leave a memorable impact, but instead I'm going to give a four point plan that is 100% accurate but that I am going to explain obnoxiously because fuck you.

ARE YOU READY? Too fucking bad because it's here:

1. Get your dick wet the night before/morning of

You're selling yourself in an interview right? Same thing applies when it comes to women. Whether it's a girl you pick up at a bar, a lovely lady you invite in after you take her to dinner, or your long-time wife who usually turns you down, seal the deal and get it in. Actually, don't just get it in - rock her fucking world. You will feel accomplished and relaxed. Success breeds success.

2. Get caffeinated

This could just be because I'm an addict, but if I'm not caffeinated I'm not as engaged. Get fired the fuck up. Do some pushups too. Get your mind right.

3. Wear your "fuck you" wso/">suit, wso/">shirt, tie, and shoes.

This one's nuanced, like this post. You need to stand out without standing out. Shut the fuck up; it makes sense. Sure, for an interview you should be going navy or wso/">charcoal suit, white or light blue wso/">shirt, standard tie, etc but you can work within that. For me, I make sure the wso/">suit is my best and well-tailored, the wso/">shirt is immaculate with a sweet spread collar and collar stays, the tie is a power tie with a power stripe, and the shoes are a step up from your basic boring ass dress shoe. Don't be afraid to dance around the margins. I fucking strut around margins but you'll work up to it. Contrary to the interview attire Nazi's around here and other places online, you play with it a bit. Brown shoes with a wso/">navy suit? Fuck ya. French cuffs with cuff links? A little too far. Spread collar because you know it fits your face and you're the fucking man? Yes. Skinny pants? Go kill yourself. You want to stand out in a "that guy put effort into his appearance" way because that's solid ground. Wearing the same boring cheap ass JC Pennys shit that everyone wears is just as bad as going way over the top.

4. Smile a lot and make sure your eyes are sufficiently open

Smiles are contagious (don't even fucking comment) and open eyes signal trustworthiness (just like closed eyes signal SUPRISE). If you followed my advice, the caffeine should have your eyes popped and you should be so damn content with yourself that the smile should be natural.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

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Aug 1, 2013 - 12:22pm

gretsky006:

SB for the laugh during lunch. Thank you.

Hah, nice

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Aug 1, 2013 - 1:55pm

What type of jobs are you interviewing for? If for a pizza delivery position you should really do the following to assert your presence:

1) You can definitely get away with french cuffs (CRE is a hater) and some fly ass cuff links or cloth knots.

2) Tell the interviewers that if they were to order something crazy on their pizza like pineapples, you would kill them and if they opt for mushrooms, tell them to shut up.

Also, do you lift? It may help for you to maybe go to the gym before the interview to get your swoll on and work on your latimus dorsi. 60% of the time this works every time.

Aug 1, 2013 - 2:10pm

junkbondswap:
Tell the interviewers that if they were to order something crazy on their pizza like pineapples, you would kill them

This is what happens when you interpret "caffeine" as "cocaine"

Commercial Real Estate Developer

  • 1
Aug 1, 2013 - 2:22pm

CRE:

3. Wear your "fuck you" suit, shirt, tie, and shoes.

SB'd. You become an entirely different animal when you're dressed like this.

Listen, here's the thing. If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker.
  • 1
Aug 2, 2013 - 2:49am

Practice the following phrases:

"That reminds me of this time when I ..."
"I get what you're saying, but I disagree. I think ... "
"I heard the funniest thing yesterday, listen to this ... "
"Suck a bag of dicks"

Aug 2, 2013 - 6:24am

ronaldmcdonald:

you just ripped that from PGP..

Or I'm the 100% the same person...It was posted here first, people liked it, so I put it up there.

C'mon man. Use your brain a bit

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Aug 2, 2013 - 6:56am

kinghongkong:

I might be totally ignorant, but what does PGP stand for?

post grad problems. as CRE said, use your brain.

Snootchie Bootchies
Aug 2, 2013 - 7:52am

1) Watch Suits
2) Become Harvey Specter
3) Profit.

Move along, nothing to see here.
Aug 2, 2013 - 7:58am

Hit the gym. Pretty hard to tell someone thats a lean 200lbs that he lacks presence...

"And the last thing, how much do you charge for a career consultation and would you accept a check?"
Aug 8, 2013 - 4:29pm

After a while, your job search starts mind-fucking you and you start double guessing yourself.

Dont.

While it is always beneficial to try to spot and improve weaknesses, trying to emulate somebody that you are not will yield an even worse performance.

Yes, be well dressed, yes try to be open minded but also try to be yourself. You will work with these guys for thousands of hours in the end; you dont want to be acting out as somebody ur not.

Oh, and polish those f*cking technicals. You are being interviewed to work and make money for the firm, not to look cool and pretend to be a "wallstreet badass".

Aug 2, 2013 - 8:25am

monkeyleverage:

Thank you CRE that is the best advice I've read regarding how to prep for an interview. Screw DCFs and technicals, just need to get my cock pumped full of blood before entering that interview

Make sure it's not just your cock though. You need a 50/50 (or I suppose 50/25/25 for you technical folks) cock to pectoral blood pump ratio (CPBPR) to really stand out.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

  • 1
Aug 2, 2013 - 8:48am

ronaldmcdonald:

I saw the pgp article first then this post. Didn't know you were the RogerSterlingJr. My apologies for the assumptions

No worries. Hah, welcome to WSO.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Aug 2, 2013 - 10:31am

Take it from a nerdy CS major who played D&D and Everquest rather than football. Presence is a skill you can pick up through practice.

1.). Do as many mock interviews as possible. Practice for the kinds of interviews you are doing.
2.) Think before you speak, but then say what you are going to say confidently and deliberately.
3.) Exercise the night before.

Longer term there are more things you can do, like learning to understand and accept your weaknesses and not being afraid to address them, even in an interview.

I think presence comes down to confidence, and confidence comes down to experience. So if you're a recent college grad, it's understandable that you may lack presence. Frankly a smart interviewer is going to adjust for this.

Aug 2, 2013 - 12:32pm

i may be in the minority, but i think this whole "presence" thing is BS. I became much better at interviewing when i started focusing on making sure i communicated to the interviewer that a) i understood the job perfectly and b) my background and skills show i can do the job better then everyone else they are interviewing. All the other stuff about social skills, "presence", wearing the right shoes, or getting laid pre-interview never helped me a bit.

And BTW my number 1 complaint when interviewing jr people is "this guy is smart, but he is interviewing for a job that I'm not offering him and isn't focused on what we will actually want him to do".

Aug 2, 2013 - 2:30pm

CRE:

CRE's (Semi-Serious) Guide to Having Presence in Interviews (With Extra Expletives for Effect)

Listen up, slidejockey, you nervous, non-talkative, sweaty, meek little man, because I am a behind-a-keyboard badass and I am going to save you from yourself and your homoerotic WSO name with fingers from god. (ladies, take notice too). I thought about giving you over the top sarcastic advice such as betting your employment on shotgunning bottles of whiskey against the interviewer or telling him that you want to be his boss someday or fucking backhanding him across the face to leave a memorable impact, but instead I'm going to give a four point plan that is 100% accurate but that I am going to explain obnoxiously because fuck you.

ARE YOU READY? Too fucking bad because it's here:

1. Get your dick wet the night before/morning of

You're selling yourself in an interview right? Same thing applies when it comes to women. Whether it's a girl you pick up at a bar, a lovely lady you invite in after you take her to dinner, or your long-time wife who usually turns you down, seal the deal and get it in. Actually, don't just get it in - rock her fucking world. You will feel accomplished and relaxed. Success breeds success.

2. Get caffeinated

This could just be because I'm an addict, but if I'm not caffeinated I'm not as engaged. Get fired the fuck up. Do some pushups too. Get your mind right.

3. Wear your "fuck you" suit, shirt, tie, and shoes.

This one's nuanced, like this post. You need to stand out without standing out. Shut the fuck up; it makes sense. Sure, for an interview you should be going navy or charcoal suit, white or light blue shirt, standard tie, etc but you can work within that. For me, I make sure the suit is my best and well-tailored, the shirt is immaculate with a sweet spread collar and collar stays, the tie is a power tie with a power stripe, and the shoes are a step up from your basic boring ass dress shoe. Don't be afraid to dance around the margins. I fucking strut around margins but you'll work up to it. Contrary to the interview attire Nazi's around here and other places online, you play with it a bit. Brown shoes with a navy suit? Fuck ya. French cuffs with cuff links? A little too far. Spread collar because you know it fits your face and you're the fucking man? Yes. Skinny pants? Go kill yourself. You want to stand out in a "that guy put effort into his appearance" way because that's solid ground. Wearing the same boring cheap ass JC Pennys shit that everyone wears is just as bad as going way over the top.

4. Smile a lot and make sure your eyes are sufficiently open

Smiles are contagious (don't even fucking comment) and open eyes signal trustworthiness (just like closed eyes signal SUPRISE). If you followed my advice, the caffeine should have your eyes popped and you should be so damn content with yourself that the smile should be natural.

lol, good stuff

Aug 2, 2013 - 7:19pm

CRE:

CRE's (Semi-Serious) Guide to Having Presence in Interviews (With Extra Expletives for Effect)

Listen up, slidejockey, you nervous, non-talkative, sweaty, meek little man, because I am a behind-a-keyboard badass and I am going to save you from yourself and your homoerotic WSO name with fingers from god. (ladies, take notice too). I thought about giving you over the top sarcastic advice such as betting your employment on shotgunning bottles of whiskey against the interviewer or telling him that you want to be his boss someday or fucking backhanding him across the face to leave a memorable impact, but instead I'm going to give a four point plan that is 100% accurate but that I am going to explain obnoxiously because fuck you.

ARE YOU READY? Too fucking bad because it's here:

1. Get your dick wet the night before/morning of

You're selling yourself in an interview right? Same thing applies when it comes to women. Whether it's a girl you pick up at a bar, a lovely lady you invite in after you take her to dinner, or your long-time wife who usually turns you down, seal the deal and get it in. Actually, don't just get it in - rock her fucking world. You will feel accomplished and relaxed. Success breeds success.

2. Get caffeinated

This could just be because I'm an addict, but if I'm not caffeinated I'm not as engaged. Get fired the fuck up. Do some pushups too. Get your mind right.

3. Wear your "fuck you" suit, shirt, tie, and shoes.

This one's nuanced, like this post. You need to stand out without standing out. Shut the fuck up; it makes sense. Sure, for an interview you should be going navy or charcoal suit, white or light blue shirt, standard tie, etc but you can work within that. For me, I make sure the suit is my best and well-tailored, the shirt is immaculate with a sweet spread collar and collar stays, the tie is a power tie with a power stripe, and the shoes are a step up from your basic boring ass dress shoe. Don't be afraid to dance around the margins. I fucking strut around margins but you'll work up to it. Contrary to the interview attire Nazi's around here and other places online, you play with it a bit. Brown shoes with a navy suit? Fuck ya. French cuffs with cuff links? A little too far. Spread collar because you know it fits your face and you're the fucking man? Yes. Skinny pants? Go kill yourself. You want to stand out in a "that guy put effort into his appearance" way because that's solid ground. Wearing the same boring cheap ass JC Pennys shit that everyone wears is just as bad as going way over the top.

4. Smile a lot and make sure your eyes are sufficiently open

Smiles are contagious (don't even fucking comment) and open eyes signal trustworthiness (just like closed eyes signal SUPRISE). If you followed my advice, the caffeine should have your eyes popped and you should be so damn content with yourself that the smile should be natural.

I don't know if it's a good or a bad thing that this now has more SB's than any of my blog posts haha

Commercial Real Estate Developer

  • 2
Aug 8, 2013 - 5:14pm

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This to all my hatin' folks seeing me getting guac right now..
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