get through an interview

21 tricks that will help you get through an interview

How to get through an interview? Recruiters are also human and subject to psychological influences. We will not teach you how to manipulate people, but we will tell you about harmless psychological tricks based on scientific research.

1. Choose the right time for the interview

The best time for an interview is a time that is convenient for the recruiter. Of course, you don’t have to turn your schedule upside down, but try not to change the suggested time much and make concessions.

If HR offers to choose the hour for the interview on your own, be smart and think about what time the recruiter will be comfortable with. Glassdoor research suggests that it is best not to schedule appointments at the very beginning or end of the working day and in the afternoon. Also, try to shift interviews from Friday, Monday, pre-and post-holiday days. All these days, the recruiter’s thoughts are likely to be focused not on you.

2. Find out other candidates for the position

Research shows that interviewers evaluate candidates not only by their own characteristics but also in comparison with the candidates already interviewed.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard found that applicants interviewed at the end of the day after a series of strong candidates were underestimated. On the other hand, after talking with weak candidates, recruiters overestimated subsequent candidates. It is unclear whether this is an unconscious phenomenon or whether interviewers specifically evaluate the latest candidates above or below their real level. One possible reason is the reluctance for executives to think that the recruiter is giving all candidates a similar rating.

How to get through an interview?

Most often, we do not know who else is trying for the position, but if suddenly you managed to meet other candidates or accidentally learn about them from a recruiter, try using this to your advantage. Objectively evaluate whether this person is stronger or weaker than you and, based on this, let him go ahead or respond to him first in the interview.

3. Dress in blue

A survey by CareerBuilder among recruiters and HR found that the color of clothing influences the impression of a person. 23% of interviewers recommend using blue in the wardrobe because it is the color of team players. 15% believe that black characterizes leaders. The worst color for interview clothes is orange shades, according to 25% of HR.

What recruiters think the other colors say about candidates:

Gray – advanced logical thinking;

White – organization;

Brown – reliability;

Red – energy, strength.

You can wear all the colors at once so that the recruiter can see that he is in front of an organized and reliable leader with excellent analytical skills who loves to work in a team: D

4. Determine the age of the recruiter

In Crazy Good Interviewing, the authors discuss an interesting theory according to which we should behave differently in interviews, depending on the age of the interviewee. What tricks the authors advise to use to please the recruiter:

HR generation Y (20-30 years old): provide specific results of your work and focus on the ability to work in multitasking mode;

HR generation X (30-50 years): emphasize creativity and clarify that work-life balance helps to achieve success;

HR generation Baby Boomer (50-70 years old): show how hard you work and show respect for their achievements;

HR Silent Generation (70-90 years old): Emphasize your loyalty and commitment to previous jobs. This is to show how you feel about your work – not as a succession of changing companies, but with respect and real interest.

5. Keep your palms open

If you put your hands on the table, palms down, you are demonstrating dominance over the other person, according to the book Crazy Good Interviewing. Hiding your hands under the table is also not the best option – it seems that you are hiding something from the recruiter. We also wrote about a couple of gestures and postures during the interview that influences the impression of you in the article “Where to put your hands during the interview?” 

6. Find something in common with the interviewer

Look for a recruiter’s profile on social media and try to find out about their interests or hobbies. You don’t need to collect the dossier and all the ins and outs – just find a couple of topics for conversation that will interest the interlocutor.

7. Copy gestures

Many people know about this psychological technique, we will just remind you – “mirroring” the poses and gestures of the interlocutor subconsciously disposes him to you. Body language expert Patti Wood says copying a person’s gestures should feel like dancing with them. Remember to use common sense and do not copy movements too explicitly.

8. Compliment

Researchers from the University of Florida and Washington conducted a study on the impact of different interview tactics on a recruiter’s experience. One of the results showed that HR highly appreciates candidates who focus not on self-promotion but on the company’s achievements. Prove that you want to work here and why; say a few nice words about the company and HR for its work.

9. Show confidence and respect

The authors of Friend and Foe argue that business success depends on competition and collaboration. In an interview, you can apply this theory and demonstrate both respects for the company and your own competence. For example, “I like your [activity / project] in the [N-area]. I have successful experience working on the same task. “

So you show interest in the company, awareness of their projects, and that you are not a miss either.

10. Don’t lie about flaws

Phrases like “I’m a perfectionist” or “I work too much” do not inspire confidence in the manager and are more like trying to make yourself “the perfect candidate”. Recruiters are well aware that everyone has weaknesses, so it’s best, to be honest.

Admit, for example, that you’re struggling to organize yourself in the morning, but you’re making daily plans so your productivity doesn’t suffer. Or you do not like to communicate by phone, but you are always ready to resolve issues in correspondence and answer emails within 5 minutes. Have you noticed the trick? In each example, we’ve added information about how you deal with weaknesses and why they don’t interfere with your work. Be sure to do the same if the recruiter asks to talk about your weaknesses.

11. Reflect on leadership experiences

Science Connected: It turns out that even a little experience of leading people strongly contributes to our self-confidence, and even more amazing – the memories of this experience work as well. Professors from Columbia and New York universities speak about this in their research.

To increase self-confidence before the upcoming interview, recall all your leadership experience and write on a piece of paper: you were the captain of the school math circle, organized a clean-up day, led the project group – everything is suitable for inspiration. By the way, don’t forget to add this leadership experience to your resume.

12. Speak emphatically

It turns out that if you want to sound smarter, you need to speak energetically and expressively. In the book ” Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior “, an example is given: if two people say the same text, but one of them speaks a little faster, louder and with fewer pauses, then he seems smarter than the other person. So we get rid of “uh ..”, “nuu ..” and other lowing sounds.

Another trick is to change the rate of speech depending on the importance of the information. Slow down on key points in the story and speed up on irrelevant things.

13. Make eye contact

Fight shyness and make eye contact, especially when you first meet. Researchers at Northeastern University conducted an experiment: participants were asked to watch videos of a conversation between two people and were asked to rate which of the interlocutors was smarter. The results showed that people rated the person better, who made more eye contact and did not lose eye contact.

14. Don’t be afraid

A study at Guelph University found that intense excitement significantly reduces the chance of being selected as a recruiter. Worry can seem like a product of self-doubt, so work on yourself and look for the right methods to deal with fear and anxiety.

15. Focus on potential

During the interview, focus not on the story of your past achievements, but on the skills that will bring the future employer the result – show how you will be useful for the company.

Stanford University in collaboration with Harvard Business School conducted a study on the social assessment of a person. Participants received information about a hypothetical job candidate: half of the people said that the job seeker had two years of work experience and a high score on the leadership exam; the rest were convinced that the candidate had no experience, but received a high score on the leadership potential test. The results showed that the participants considered a person with more potential more suitable for the position, rather than experience. So, experience doesn’t solve everything!

16. Prepare for uncomfortable questions

The recruiter may not ask you about the reasons for a long break from work or leaving the previous place, but it is better to be prepared for the worst and prepare answers to unpleasant questions in advance. 

Tricky advice from HR expert John Lees: when answering a question, for example, about the dismissal, do not dwell on the reasons but go on to discuss the positive points that you took out of the situation. For example, they took a fresh look at their career plan, worked out mistakes, and decided to learn new skills. At the interview (and in life) try to turn all negative situations into your strengths and points of growth.

17. Don’t smile too much

It turns out that in some interviews, a Hollywood smile can get in the way of getting a job. One behavioral study described an experiment on college students in which participants were asked to conduct an interview. As a result, “candidates” for a newspaper reporter, manager, and assistant positions lowered their chances of being hired if they smiled during interviews. For students playing the role of sales representatives or salespeople, smiling, on the other hand, helped them get hypothetical jobs.

18. Be Inspired

Psychologists Jonathan Golding and Anne Lipert argue that candidates who show active enthusiasm are more likely to get an offer than less emotional candidates.

A burning desire to work can be seen not only in the “burning eyes”, but also in the voice: energetic speech, lowering and raising the tone are indicators of excitement in a good sense of the word and the fact that a person is impatient to get to work. Cold calmness and a measured pace of speech do not mean that the candidate does not want to work for the company, but it is better to show a healthy amount of enthusiasm in front of the recruiter.

19. Talk about the weather

This is a little small talk before the interview begins: about the weather, the office of the company, or another relevant topic. As practice shows, the light conversation can have a big impact on the interviewer’s impression of you.

Research on this topic was carried out at universities in Texas and Georgia. It turned out that the candidates with whom the recruiter had a nice conversation before the interview, in the future, he rated higher than less sociable candidates. 

20. Improvise

In most cases, interviews follow a similar scenario: the recruiter asks questions based on the resume, the candidate answers. To be remembered by the interviewer, it is necessary to somehow diversify the conversation, within a reasonable framework.

For example, one candidate at the very beginning of the interview said to the recruiter: “Let me tell you some interesting things that are not on my resume.” This got the interviewer interested and turned his attention from the resume to the candidate himself. Think about these tricks.

21. Ask why you were invited

The question “Why did you invite me for an interview today?” will definitely be remembered by the recruiter and will set you apart from other candidates. According to psychologist Robert Sialdini , such a question has a positive effect on the further decision about your candidacy. You get the recruiter to talk about your merits, praise you, and also show that you are not timid.

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