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8 Psychological Tricks To Help You Nail the Interview of Your Dream Job

8 Psychological Tricks To Help You Nail the Interview of Your Dream Job
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Why You Should Focus on Psychology in Your Next Interview

Whether you realize it or not, psychology impacts every aspect of your life. For example, color psychology is used by marketing companies to influence the products you buy. You can even use color psychology to help make a good first impression, which is something we’ll touch base on in more detail later in this article.

It doesn’t matter if you have ever taken a psychology course or if you have a lot of preexisting knowledge about this topic. What’s important is that you learn to use a few psychological interview tips before you attempt to land your dream job. After all, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

The information you’re about to learn will greatly increase your odds of getting off on the right foot with the hiring manager. In fact, putting these tips to work for you could make the difference between ultimately loving and hating your job. When you consider that more than half of workers hate what they do, it makes perfect sense to give yourself every possible interview advantage.

Dress for Psychological Success

What qualities do you want to highlight during your interview? The answer to this question lies in the type of job you desire, along with the team culture of the company interviewing you. If the perfect fit for the position in question is a bold risk taker, make sure you have at least a splash of red in your outfit. Do they need someone who is trustworthy and dependable instead? It’s best to go with blue.[1]

By using color psychology, you can subtly tell the interviewer that you have the qualities they need for their open position. The colors listed below can be incorporated in your shirt or added more discreetly into a tie or broach.

• Yellow: Warmth, clarity and optimism

• Orange: Friendly, confidence and cheerful

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• Red: Bold, excitement and youthful

• Pink: Wise, creative and imaginative

• Blue: Strength, trust and dependable

• Green: Peaceful, health and growth

• Light Gray: Neutral, balance and calm

• Four or More Rainbow Colors: Diversity

Some of the qualities that hiring managers frequently look for are assertiveness, friendliness and the ability to be competitive and cooperative at the same time. Therefore, you might want to add a few colors into your interview outfit. However, be careful not to wear a lot of orange because it’s sometimes viewed as unprofessional.

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Make Sure Time Is on Your Side

If an interviewer offers you only one time slot, be sure you take it. Otherwise, it’s wisest to look for an interview slot between 10 and 10:30 a.m. on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. There are many psychological reasons for this such as the importance of avoiding the first and last appointment of their day.[2]

As you undoubtedly know, it’s harder to focus during these late and early time frames, just as it’s easier to lose focus right before or right after lunch. By steering clear of weekend bookends, lunch time and the start and end of the day, you can help ensure that your interviewer will be in a better head space to pay attention to your answers. They’re also more likely to be in a decent mood, which will make it easier to build a rapport.

Match Your Interviewer’s Style and Body Language

Let’s face it; your interviewer is going to base a major part of their decision on whether or not they like your personality. Therefore, it makes sense to meet them in the middle by presenting information in a way that makes the most sense to them. Fortunately, their age can give you a big clue about how to conduct yourself during the interview.[3]

• 20 to 30 – Pointing out your multitasking skills and providing samples of your work in a visual format will impress Generation Y interviewers.

• 30 to 50 – During an interview with someone from Generation X, talk about the way your life/work balance boosts your success and be sure to emphasize your creativity.

• 50 to 70 – Demonstrate that you respect the Baby Boomer and their achievements. Make it clear that you’re a hard worker.

• 70 to 90 – Commitment to previous jobs and loyalty are your psychological keys to a good interview with members of the Silent Generation.

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Another way to match their style is through mirroring their body language. This will unconsciously make the interviewer feel more comfortable with you.

Point Out Positive Traits You Have in Common

Who do you feel the most comfortable with? The odds are high that your answer includes “people I have things in common with.” This is a basic psychological fact, and you can use it to help get your dream job. All you need to do is conduct a little prior research into your interviewer and look for the right traits.

A prime example would be looking for a way to slip a shared interest in community service and volunteering opportunities into the interview. However, you don’t want to make this technique obvious, so don’t bring something up that makes no sense in the context of the interview.

Be Sincere and Non-Promotional in Your Compliments

It’s possible to compliment the organization and interviewer without seeming like you’re merely trying to get on their good side. However, many people ruin these efforts by finding a way to tie in a self-promotional comment.

Resisting this urge can give you a big advantage over other candidates. This is because studies have found that schmoozing without promoting yourself is one of the best ways to get hired.[4]

Speaking expressively during these compliments, and throughout the interview, is another prime way to capture attention. Interviewers also tend to pay a lot of attention to body language. You can non-verbally express sincerity by holding your palms open. When you want to look confident, switch to making a steeple with your hands.

Feel More Powerful with a Power Pose

This psychological interview tip needs to be used by you in a private place before you meet with the interviewer. There is a growing body of research that states it’s possible to be more commanding and confident after holding a power pose.

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For instance, you can stand in the Superman pose with your hands on your hips and your head angled upward. Holding this pose for a moment shortly before entering the interview should help you appear more confident and powerful.[5]

Utilize Strong Eye Contact at the Start of the Interview, but Don’t Smile Too Much

Although there is no proven link between eye contact and someone’s intelligence or trustworthiness, most interviewers will have a better impression of you if you make solid eye contact for a few seconds at the beginning of your interview. It’s also wise to make eye contact off and on throughout the entire interview.

When it comes to smiling, though, you need to be cautious. Studies have discovered that excessive smiling is not a good way to impress your interviewer. Yes, you need to smile when you meet them and steer clear of having a frown on your face, but too much smiling will look fake.[6]

Be Honest About Your Greatest Weakness

One of the most common interview questions of all time is, “what’s your greatest weakness?” You don’t need these interview tips to tell you that you shouldn’t say something that’s going to make you look extremely undesirable. At the same time, though, it’s important to provide an honest answer.

In case you weren’t aware, the greatest weakness question is asked so frequently because it helps point out the people who are blatantly lying. Everyone has a weakness. Maybe you’re not as organized as you’d like to be. You can acknowledge this by saying, “I’m not always as organized as I’d like to be, which is a weakness that I’m committed to improving.”

Honesty will get you much better results than trying to lie or humblebrag. In fact, according to researchers at Harvard Business School, providing a humblebragging answer to this question is a big turnoff for most hiring managers.[7]

Land Your Dream Job!

Are you still trying to figure out exactly what your dream job looks like[8] ? Take some time to sort out your personal and professional priorities to help ensure that you choose the right fit. Once you’re ready, put all of the previously listed psychological interview tips into action to boost your odds of success!

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Reference

More by this author

Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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