Job Interview Tips
Psychological Tips for the Job Interview Process
A job interview can be a stressful and frustrating experience for many potential and would-be employees. The job interview process is often the first experience that an applicant has with their prospected employer, and first impressions—as unfair as they can sometimes be—are usually very influential, if not “everything” to an employer looking to hire someone for their company or business. There are countless ways that applicants can prepare for job interviews and hundreds if not thousands of how-to guides, tips and tricks, and insider secrets which can be found using a simple web search. Although many of these guides can be very helpful and have surely helped many applicants find their way into a comfortable working position, many of them are ignoring an important aspect of the job interview process: psychology. The psychology of a business job interview is an overlooked and underused concept which can help applicants understand what they need to do during a job interview to increase their chances of being considered in a favorable manner by the employer. The psychology of a job interview can also help rejected applicants figure out why they may have been rejected or what they could—or should—do differently when they have their next job interview.
These psychological tips have been extracted from several psychological studies about job interviews. Many researchers have found that taking advantage of psychology during a job interview will increase the chances of an applicant coming across favorably to their interviewee—which, of course, increases their chances of being hired into a company. If you are preparing for a job interview or may be attending a job interview in the future, please consider these tips when deciding how you want to present yourself to your potential future employer.
Speak Highly of a Company
Flattery can--in some cases--get you anywhere. Studies have shown that applicants who praise the company that they are applying to, as opposed to praising themselves, have a better chance of being hired at that company. It's important to note that this doesn't mean you should simply flatter an organization with pointless or otherwise insincere compliments--you should do your research and talk enthusiastically about what you appreciate about the company or what you find so wonderful about how they do business.
Take Control of a Situation
One of the most common questions during any job interview involves asking the applicant how they would handle a difficult situation or how they have handled difficult situations in the past. Research has shown that interviewers prefer applicants who talk about how they personally controlled the difficult situation rather than deferring to team or group effort to control a situation. This is largely because most companies are looking for applicants that can handle situations on their own rather than requiring a group or team effort to solve problems.
Use your Imagination
When you are preparing for your job interview, you should practice using a little imaginative exercise. Pretend that you are actually at the job interview and imagine how it might go--will you answer your questions in a confident, warm tone? Will you use positive and socially appropriate body language? Imagine how you will behave during the interview and, as studies have shown, your actual behavior will usually reflect your earlier mental image of yourself performing that behavior.
Keep it Natural
Many applicants find it tempting to produce fake, blinding smiles during the interview process. It seems like a natural psychological response--many people believe that if they smile more, they will be seen as happier, more enthusiastic and generally more favorable to their interviewer. However, studies on the topic have shown that interviewers are actually put-off by constant, fake smiling. People are generally capable of telling a genuine, natural smile from one that is simply put-on for show. Instead of grinning from ear to ear during the entire interview, allow yourself to naturally smile when it is appropriate, such as when discussing your enthusiasm for a company or introducing yourself to the interviewer.
It's Okay to Apologize
Sometimes, job interviews do not always go as planned. It's simply a fact of life. Applicants may accidentally interrupt the interviewee during their dialogue, the applicant's cell phone or pager may suddenly go off, in addition to a high number of other incidents which can disrupt an interview or cause it to go sour. In this case, it is perfectly acceptable for you to apologize, make excuses and defend your actions to the person conducting the interview. For example, if your cell phone rings, don't simply turn it off--apologize and give the interviewee and excuse as to why it was on. Studies have shown that interviewers prefer applicants who acknowledge mistakes and defend or excuse them rather than ignore that they happened in the first place.
Be Confident and Upfront
While confidence is often lauded as an important virtue during the job interview process—which it is—the concept of being upfront is usually less popular. While it’s common sense never to lie on your resume, many applicants are less than upfront when it comes to negative aspects about themselves, their working past, or their weaknesses to the person who could make or break their possibility of being hired at a company. This often results in overconfidence or the appearance of overconfidence and applicants who try to present themselves as perfect beings that have never made mistakes. Research has shown that this usually results in a poor reception by a job interviewer because interviewers are looking for people who are confident—but also honest. Psychologically, part of being confident is being able to own up to mistakes and take responsibility for them. Instead of sweeping your past mistakes or weaknesses under the rug, be upfront during your interview about things that you have trouble with, such as using a certain computer program or performing a certain task. The interviewer will appreciate being upfront much more than a false sense of perfection.