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The Psychology of the Job Interview

December 11, 2015 - Posted to Job Interview

Content the psychlogy of job interview

Psychologists who conduct research on the employment process, from both the interviewer and interviewee standpoints, have come up with a body of data that you should consider. There are many psychological aspects of the interview process which can make you a favorable candidate. Here are a few of them.

  1. Go in with warm hands. If your hands are cold and clammy, go to the restroom. Run your hands under hot water or hold them under a hand blow dryer for a time. A warm dry hand says confidence, and you definitely want to come across as confident.
  2. Watch the interviewer’s physical movements. Emulate variations of those movements – if an interviewer rubs his chin, take note. At some point as you are answering a question, use a similar movement. From a psychological standpoint, it sends a message that you are “in sync” with the interviewer.
  3. Always pause just a few seconds before answering a question. This indicates that you are a thoughtful person without impulsivity, that you do pause to consider things before you take action. Many employers see this as a very important trait.
  4. Use the right body language. No body language at all indicates that you are “stiff” and not flexible – not good. Lean in as you to make a point; use very moderate hand gestures. This sends a message that you are honest and genuine.
  5. Find a small thing that will make you memorable and will help “bond” you with the interviewer. It might be a painting on the wall and you have one by the same artist; it might come out that your interviewer is a big fan of the same sports team as you. If you have learned something really complimentary about the organization, mention it. You want to stick in his/her mind in some small way.
  6. Get a visual picture of your interview several days before the real one. Picture yourself sitting across the desk from the interview smiling and answering questions, and that interviewer smiling at you. Keep playing this scene in your head daily and even as you are waiting to be called in. this puts you in a very positive mood, and it will show.
  7. Dress: You know all about this. But you also need to know what is appropriate for the specific organization with which you are interviewing. You can do this in several ways. You can get on the organization’s website and look for pictures of employees at work; you can go sit in the parking lot at the end of the day and watch as employees come out. A good rule of thumb is to dress one level up from the regular employees. You might discover that employees wear business casual – nice slacks and a polo for example. If that I the case, you wear a nice shirt and sport coat with no tie of a nice pants outfit with an unstructured jacket (if female).
  8. There are certain preferences and/or turn-offs that you cannot know about your interviewer. Be on the safe side here. It is best to take out any body piercings and cover up any tattoos for now. Some organizations may frown on males with longer hair or females with too much makeup. You can release more of your personality in these aspects after you are secure in your new position. Males with shaved heads are a problem with some people. Psychologically, it connotes a need to control. Body piercings on females connote a wild lifestyle.
  9. Always let the interviewer speak first. You job is to shake hands and say, “Nice to meet you,” and then to close your mouth and let him/her speak. Psychologically, this allows the interviewer to be in control of the meeting, and that is how s/he wants it. Psychologists also tell us that letting the other individual speak first establishes a sense of trust on their part.

All of these psychological aspects of an interview may not get you a job offer – there has to be a match between your skills and the position, and the interviewer has to believe that you will bring value to his organization. But if you and another candidate are equally qualified, these little things may give you an edge.