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What Are Some Psychological Tricks for Mastering a Job Interview?

by Quora from Mashable

What are some psychological tips, tricks and techniques that I can use during a job interview that will increase my chances of getting an offer?

Answer below by Zambelli Sylar Federico, student and entrepreneur.

Mirror your interviewer’s body language. This technique, known as “mirroring,” is widely used in the psychological world as a means to gain an interlocutor’s trust and make them feel at ease. Good salesmen often use it to increase their chances of closing.

By mirroring an interviewer’s movements, tone, gestures, breathing pace and so on, you’re basically communicating a message of, “Hey, we’re playing the same tune here. We’re akin. You can trust me.”

Verbal language represents only about 7% of what we’re actually communicating; the remaining 93% is up to your body and your tone — so prioritize how you speak rather thanwhat you say.

Bear in mind: Mirroring isn’t parroting. It’s not easy, and it’s a skill that requires training. The plus side is that it can be practiced anywhere, anytime, with anyone: Try it with strangers at the bar, with your friends, your mother, your teachers or on a date.

If you’re worried about someone noticing your mirroring behavior, the key is subtlety. The only case in which someone might notice that you’re mirroring them is if they’re aware of the technique themselves. (And you might interpret this as a positive thing; it is another point in common you share with your interlocutor.)

Start with body language, as it’s the easiest thing to mirror: If the person you’re mirroring scratches their nose with their left hand, touch your face with your right hand (remember: You have to be specular). If they cross their legs, cross your legs the opposite way. And so forth.

After you feel confident with body language, you might want to move on to tone. As you may well be aware, some people speak at a very fast and intermittent pace, others are very slow and yet others have a rhythm.

You can learn more about mirroring in various psychological journals/publications or by performing a Google Search online.

One last thing: It’s important to learn whether a person is a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner.

Answer below by Tim Chi, graduate student in clinical psychology.

Think about your answers. When answering your interviewer’s questions, don’t feel compelled to answer immediately every time, especially if you get a question that could trip you up. It is okay — and sometimes even preferable — to take some extra time to think over your response. This has two effects:

  • It takes some pressure off of memorizing canned responses and the need to use such responses: It’s good preparation to mentally rehearse answers to likely questions, as long as you don’t go too far and become scripted — just memorize the framework of your response, as the details are sometimes better left blank until you hear the actual question. Taking some time to think will make this a lot easier.

  • It projects confidence. When you take some time to answer, instead of rushing into it, it communicates to people that you know your own value. The vibe you’ll give off is that of someone who knows what they’re saying is worth the extra wait. People with authority/high status do this quite a bit, if you’ll notice. Just to be clear, the point is not to try to get your interviewer to acknowledge you as some “alpha dog” — rather, the idea is to give them the impression that you are in the habit of doing this, because you respect your own opinion and time.

  • A few caveats: Don’t wait too long, or you might come across as spacey and nervous — other considerations of body language and non-verbal communication should be kept in mind as well. More importantly, don’t feel compelled to go through with this practice in response to every question — this tactic should be reserved for curveballs. Hopefully, most of the questions will be ones you already feel confident about.

    Answer below by Susan Bearry.

    In addition to the above points, below are a few “tricks” that you can employ in an interview setting:

    • If you get there early, go to the bathroom and warm your hands, either under hot water or under a hand dryer. Dry, warm hands inspire confidence. Cold, clammy hands are an unconscious turn-off. You can apply a bit of deodorant or baby powder (a smallamount) to your hands, if sweaty hands are an issue for you. Psychological studies have shown that even holding a warm cup of coffee can make someone feel more positively toward you.

    • The interviewer’s goal, in simplest terms, is to find someone who will benefit the company. Keep that in mind when answering all questions. Yes, they want someone smart, dependable, likable, ambitious, etc., but mostly, they want to know what you, specifically, will bring to the table. This is where understanding the company and the industry, challenges and culture will help guide your answers.

    • Present yourself well. This seems obvious, but many people fail to properly groom or dress themselves for a big interview. Keep your hair neat and freshly cut, fingernails clean, shoes polished — all that good stuff. Dress for one or two levels higher than the job for which you are applying. For example, if the job requires jeans, wear slacks or nicer pants. If it requires business casual, wear a suit. Purchase the highest-quality interview outfit you can afford — it really does show in cut and material.

    • Don’t underestimate the power of color. Everyone knows that red is a power color. It still works (though you might consider using it as an accent color instead of a full suit).

    • Breathe deeply and slowly. I once had a boss who was really into meditation, and he told me later that he really liked that I breathed slowly and deeply in our interview, because he knew I would keep cool under pressure and would have a calming influence. Short, rapid breaths or running out of air when talking is a clear sign of nervousness, and it can make your interviewer edgy as well.

    • Never lean back in your chair. Only the base of your back should ever touch the back of your chair. Don’t hunch over, either. Keep those shoulders back, but not ramrod straight — you want to seem at ease but alert.

    • Never interrupt your interviewer. Sometimes interviewees are overeager to show that they “get it” or that they are a quick study, but no one ever likes being interrupted.

    • Subtly compliment your interviewer — on the questions he or she asks, or on some aspect of their personality. Try to find something that will bond you, such as commenting on pictures of his or her family, sports themes or anything else they may have displayed in the interview area.

    • Never forget to thank the interviewer for their time and interest. Do it at introduction, when saying goodbye, and definitely in a follow-up email or note afterward.

    • Preparation is key. Prepare, prepare, prepare. The more you know about interview techniques, body language, the company, etc., the more comfortable and confident you will be, and that is always a big draw. If possible, ask someone who has experience interviewing to run through some practice questions with you — and really act as if you are in an interview situation, even if you feel a bit self-conscious or silly. Ask them to be brutally harsh in their feedback, and accept any criticism with good grace.