Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
INTERVIEWS / DEC. 27, 2014
version 4, draft 4

7 Psychological Tricks to Use in an Interview

Psychological Tricks

Wouldn’t it be nice if all job offers were based solely on skills and experience? Well, that probably depends on your background. It’s entirely possible for a newbie to beat out an experienced professional, provided that newbie employees some very effective psychological tricks. Here’s what you need to know:

#1 Warm things up

Fair or not, a cold, clammy handshake can be a deal-breaker. To avoid the handshake of death, get there a few minutes early, find the bathroom, and stick your hands under water that’s as hot as you can stand. Then dry them off and go shake some hands!

#2 Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

It’s one of those truths that makes you realize we humans aren’t as evolved as we like to think we are: We intuitively like people who remind us of ourselves. One way to capitalize on that truth is to mirror your interviewer in both speech and body language. You have to be subtle, though; if you scratch your nose every time your interviewer scratches her nose, you’re going to creep her out. Delay a few seconds before you mimic a gesture like crossing your legs, or cross them the opposite way. And, while you don’t want to repeat everything your interviewer says, mimicking her tone and rate of speech can be incredibly effective.

#3 Did you hear what I heard?

No, you don’t want to parrot back everything your interviewer says; that definitely falls into the creepy zone. But using a few keywords in your answer can help the interviewer feel a bond with you. For instance, if your interviewer asks, “Tell me about the boss who’s had the most impact on your career…”, you could preface your answer with, “The boss who’s had the most impact on my career is…” Everybody likes to feel listened to, no matter what their rank is!

#4 Take a breath

You don’t have to answer every question the second your interviewer stops speaking. On the contrary, pausing for a few seconds gives more weight to your answer. It implies that you know your answer is worth waiting for…which is great because it also gives you more time to think.

#5 Your mom was right – sit up straight

During an interview, the posture that conveys the most confidence is sitting up straight, with only the base of your back touching the chair. Leaning back can indicate both a desire to escape and extreme casualness. And slouching can indicate that you’re trying to hide something.

#6 Your mom was wrong – flattery can get you somewhere

A key principle in sales is to subtly compliment your customer on their purchasing decision. That principle applies here, too. Don’t go overboard, but try to work in some a few approving comments like, “That’s an interesting question” or “I’m so glad you asked that…”.

#7 Get to yes

This is another tip borrowed from sales. If you can get your customer to agree to buy one thing, add-on sales become a lot easier. In an interview, try to end on a positive note by asking a question that practically guarantees a “yes” answer, like “May I check back with you in a week if I haven’t heard from you?” or “Do most people like working here?”.

Is it cheating to use these psychological tricks during an interview? Absolutely not. These same “tricks” can help you succeed in the job, too, like when you have to build collaboration among different department heads. So just add these tricks to the list of things that make you the best person for the job.

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