Your CV, cover letter and LinkedIn Profile has convinced a potential employer that you might be a good candidate for the role. Now you have to persuade them that you’re the best candidate for the role, which is easier said than done. In this blog post, we list 5 proven ways you can use psychology to nail your next interview.
1. Speak Expressively
If you want to impressive an interviewer, you need to speak expressively.
According to Leonard Mlodinow, author of “Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior,” “If two speakers utter exactly the same words, but one speaks a little faster and louder and with fewer pauses and greater variation in volume, that speaker will be judged to be more energetic, knowledgeable, and intelligent. Expressive speech, with modulation in pitch and volume, and a minimum of noticeable pauses, boosts credibility and enhances the impression of intelligence.”
An effective way to improve your ability to speak expressively during job interviews is to practice for your next interview with a friend, family member or colleague who is a very good speaker. They will be more likely than most people to advise you about how you can speak more expressively.
2. Avoid the Fake Smile
Research has shown that body language such as smiling, eye contact, leaning forward and body orientation positively affect interview ratings. However, fake smiles are likely to work against you and research has shown that fake smiles during an interview results in less favourable evaluations than genuine smiles. Fake smiles also increase the likelihood that you will be perceived as insincere and untrustworthy.
3. Try and Find Similarities with your Interviewer(s)
It is human nature to want to surround ourselves with people who are similar to us and unsurprisingly, this can lead Interviewer’s to hire with people who remind them of themselves. Maybe you went to the same college, enjoy the same sports or have similar backgrounds as the Interviewer. If you know who you’re going to be interviewed by, look them up on LinkedIn and Google and find out a lot about them. This will help you to learn about their background and maybe even a bit about their hobbies, values and beliefs. If you see any commonalities, you can casually mention them during the interview (or if your interviewer engages in chit-chat before the interview, you can mention them at that point).
4. Leverage Social Proof
To make quick decisions, we leverage social proof. For example, when you are walking and looking for a good restaurant, you’re more likely to choose the restaurant that looks busy as you are likely to think that if so many people are eating here, it must be good.
Potential employers are also influenced by social proof. Throughout the interview, you can quote past employers (or your current one) who you have praised you for your successes or clients who have recommended your work. Also, if you are being interviewed by other organisations (particularly high-profile ones) and you’re asked whether you’re interviewing for anyone else, then you should tell the interviewer that you do have other offers but that you’re more interested in working for them because you see their role and company as the most exciting one.
5. Reframe Nerves as Excitement
Interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience and telling yourself to calm down is probably not the best way to deal with these nerves. Research from Harvard Professor Alison Brooks suggests that a more effective way to deal with nerves and anxiety is to convince yourself that you’re excited.
In her research, Brooks got her participants to engage in stressful activities such as singing and public speaking. Before they had to perform, Brooks got one group to say “I am calm”, the second group to say “I am excited” and a third group to say nothing. She found that the group that said “I am excited” reported feeling the most confident and consistently out-performed all the other groups.
The reason for this is because anxiety and excitement are both emotions with high levels of arousal. In both states, your heart rate increases, your cortisol surges and your body prepares for action. The main difference is that excitement is a positive, optimistic emotion whereas anxiety is a negative, pessimistic emotion.
Calmness on the other hand is a low arousal emotion at the other end of the spectrum. According to Brooks, for most of us, it takes less effort for our brain to jump from charged-up negative feelings to charged-up positive ones than it would take to go from charged-up and negative to positive and calm.
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