How psychology could help you ace a job interview
Job interviews are stressful situations. Few people look forward to them. So here are a few psychological techniques to help you ace your next one:
Use reflective listening
In other words, listen to what’s being said very carefully and reflect it back to the questioner. It’s important that the question or point is paraphrased so the interviewer sees that you understand it, rather than simply being parroted back.
This technique emphasises your listening skills, something which is a sought-after transferable skill, particularly in leadership or managerial roles. It also makes you look thoughtful and intelligent and acts as a form of flattery.
Disguise flattery as asking for advice
This helps you create a good bond with the interviewer without being seen as a brown-noser. You could frame a question like: “That project was so successful. How did the company achieve it?” Or you could ask: “You’ve achieved so much in your career, where do you advise that I should start?”
Appealing to an interviewer’s knowledge and expertise both flatters them and makes them feel that you’re willing to learn new techniques, a great sign in a potential employee.
Most people hire others like themselves – even though that’s probably not the best way to run a company. So stressing the similarities between you helps them see you as a potential colleague more easily. You could say: “Yes, I like to spend my first 30 minutes organising my emails too. It sets me up for the day.”
If you have similar experiences or have worked at the same places in the past, it’s worth highlighting that subtly. Perhaps you could say: “I spent five years in the human resources department there. I’m sure it hadn’t changed much since you were there previously.”
That not only stresses similarities, it makes it clear you’ve done your homework before the interview.
Use your interviewer’s name
Politicians use this trick all the time to build trust quickly. The most likeable politicians are famed for it – Bill Clinton is a notable example.
Those on the receiving end of it see the other person as charming and attentive, someone who remembers details and is interested in them.
Use their name a few times. Using it every sentence will sound odd, and like a trick. The important thing here is for this to sound natural, and not forced. If someone notices it immediately, you’ve probably failed to do this correctly.
Remember to use the interviewer’s name when saying goodbye to leave a lasting impression.
Honesty’s the best policy
Some people would advise that when it comes to confidence, you should fake it until you make it. That’s a dangerous path. Faked confidence often turns into over-confidence, and that’s an unattractive quality in a would-be employee.
It’s far better to be up-front about feeling a little nervous, and to tell your interviewer, apologising for it. Most people have been in similar situations and will make allowances for you. If you go on to excel in the interview, even better. You overcame your nerves to put in a good interview performance.