Advertising
Advertising

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

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

Advertising

• 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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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!

Reference

More by this author

Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

How I Keep the Spark Alive in My 10 Years of Marriage 8 Psychological Tricks To Help You Nail the Interview of Your Dream Job The Ultimate Solution To Your Super Long Stay At Bathroom: Constipation Remedy. Low glycemic index foods I Promise These 10 Low GI foods can Keep You Fuller For Longer! Emotional Quotient Isn’t Just About Emotions. It Involves Numerous Skills

Trending in Productivity

1 How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated 2 How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life 3 How to Develop Mental Toughness to Help You Stay Strong 4 How to Calm Down When You’re Stressed and Anxious 5 How to Reinvent Yourself And Redefine Your Future

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on April 23, 2019

How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated

How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated

Stretch goals are a lot like physical fitness. When you adopt a physical sport such as running, continual practice leads to increased stamina, growth and progress.

While commitment to the sport improves performance, true growth happens when you are stretched beyond your comfort zone. I know this from personal experience.

For years, I was an avid runner. I ran with a variety of running groups in the Washington, D.C., area and in Columbus, Ohio, where I lived prior to moving to the nation’s capital in 2011.

While I was initially fearful about slacking off on my exercise habit when I moved to D.C., running enthusiasts in the area provided continual motivation, inspiring me to lace up my shoes day after day. Much to my surprise, many of the area’s running stores (including Pacers and Potomac River Running) boasted running groups that met in the mornings and evenings. So, it was relatively easy for a newcomer like me to connect with like-minded peers.

I was never a particularly fast runner, but I enjoyed the afterglow of the sport: being completely drained but feeling a sense of accomplishment; setting and reaching goals; buying and wearing out new tennis shoes. The sound of throngs of feet pounding the pavement in semi-unison is still enough to bring tears to my eyes. Yes, I sometimes tear up at the start of races.

Of all the groups I ran with, the Pacers Store group that met on Monday nights in Logan Circle boasted the fastest runners. I met up with the group week after week only to be the slowest runner. It was difficult to muster the courage to get up every week and meet the group knowing what was waiting for me: sweating and watching the backs of fellow runners.

Each time I joined the group, I was stretching myself without even realizing it. Instead of feeling like I was transitioning into a better running, for a long time I felt I was torturing myself.

Then something remarkable happened. I went for a run with a different set of runners and noticed my time had improved. I was running at a faster pace and doing so with ease. What was once uncomfortable for me I now handled with ease.

The reason I was becoming a better runner was because I was taking myself out of my comfort zone and challenging myself physically and mentally. This example illustrates the process of growth.

Fortunately, we can create situations that stretch us in our personal and professional lives.

What Is a Stretch Goal?

A stretch goal – as authors Sim B. Sitkin, C. Chet Miller and Kelly E. See detail an article “The Stretch Goal Paradox” in Harvard Business Review[1] – is something that is extremely difficult and novel. It is something that not everyone does, and it’s sometimes considered impossible.

Advertising

In general, you establish stretch goals by doing things that are difficult or temporarily challenging.

For instance, when I was first promoted to a senior communications management role, I knew I needed to beef up my relationships with media personalities. I set a goal to once a month book a day of media interviews in New York City – which is home to many media outlets, including SiriusXM radio, CNN, NBC News, HuffPost, VIBE.

This was a huge goal because it meant not only identifying the right people to meet with but convincing them to meet with me and my team. While I didn’t end up meeting the goal of doing a full day of media interviews in New York City, I met more people than I would have met had I not established the goal and instead stayed in the comfort of my D.C. office.

It is important to note that just because you establish a stretch goal doesn’t mean you’ll achieve the goal each time. However, the process of trying is guaranteed to provide some level of growth.

The Importance of Creating Stretch Goals

The beginning of the year is a perfect time to assess where you are excelling and where there is room for you to grow. I typically start the year by creating a yearlong strategic plan for myself.

I think about the things that are necessary to do and things that would be cool to do. I assess the people I should know and think through how to meet them. Then I ask myself if the goals are realistic and what would need to happen for me to achieve them.

Over time, I have learned that there are five things I can do to set stretch goals:

1. Get Outside of Your Head

If I exist within the confines of my imagination, I imperil my own growth and creativity.

If I examine my accomplishments and celebrate them in isolation of others’ accomplishments, my vantage point is limited.

I want to be comfortable with what I accomplish, but I also want to be motivated by watching others. In some respects, stretching is about expanding your network of friends, associates and mentors. These are the people who will propel or slow your growth and development.

Since two are better than one, I always value being able to share my progress with others, seek feedback and then map a plan for success.

Advertising

2. Focus on a Couple Areas at a Time

When setting goals, it is important to focus on a couple of areas at a time. Most of us are only able to focus on a few things at a time, and if you feel you are unable to tackle all that is before you, you may simply disengage.

I see this in so many areas of life:

When people get in debt, if they believe the debt is insurmountable, they refuse to look at incoming bills for fear of facing down the debt. Unfortunately, many businesses go awry when setting stretch goals.

In “The Stretch Goal Paradox,” Sitkin, Miller and See note:

“Our research suggests that though the use of stretch goals is quite common, successful use is not. And many executives set far too many stretch goals. In the past five years, for example, Tesla failed to meet more than 20 of founder Elon Musk’s ambitious projections and missed half of them by nearly a year, according to the Wall Street Journal.”

Goal-setting is like a marathon, not a sprint. It doesn’t all need to happen at the same time, and pacing is extremely important if you want to get to the finish line. It is better to focus on a couple goals at a time, master them and then move on to the next thing.

3. Set Aside Time Each Year to Focus on Goal-Setting

When I was a managing director for communications for the Advancement Project, I spent the first part of every year facilitating a communications planning meeting.

The planning meeting began with the team members assessing the goals the team had established in the preceding year, and whether those goals were realistic or not. If we failed to meet certain goals, we broke down why that happened. From there, we brainstormed about possibilities for the current year.

For instance, one year we set a goal of pitching and getting 24 opinion essays published. This was audacious because no one on the eight-person team had the luxury of focusing exclusively on editing and pitching opinion essays to publications around the world. We would need to focus on pitching in between the rest of our work.

We hit this goal within the first eight months of the year. Remarkably, in total, we ended up getting 40 opinion essays published that year, which was an indication that our original goal was too low. We upped the goal to 41 the next year, and amazingly, we hit 42 published opinion essays or guest columns.

From this experience, we not only learned what was feasible, we also learned the power of focus.

Advertising

When we focused as a team on getting the commentary on our issues out in the public domain, we were successful. The key in all of this is that there was a ton of discussion around which goal we’d pursue and why.

Equally important, as a manager, I didn’t set the goals alone; the team members and I established the goals collaboratively. This ensured buy-in from each individual.

4. Use the S.M.A.R.T. Goal Model to Set Realistic Goals

S.M.A.R.T.

is a synonym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. For the sake of this article, the realistic portion of the acronym is most important.

While you want to set audacious goals, you want to ensure that they are realistic as well. No one is served by setting a goal that is impossible to accomplish.

Failing to meet goals can be demoralizing for teams, so it’s important to be sober-eyed about what is possible. Additionally, the purpose of setting goals is to advance and grow, not depress morale.

For instance, my team would have been discouraged had I begun the year asking it to pitch and place 40 opinion essays if we didn’t already have a track record of placing close to two dozen essays.

By using the S.M.A.R.T. formula, we were able to achieve all that we set out to do.

5. Break the Goal up into Small Digestible Parts

I am a recovering perfectionist. As a writer, being a perfectionist can be counterproductive because I can fail to start if I don’t see a clear pathway to victory.

The same is true with goal-setting. That’s why I join Lifehack’s fellow contributor Deb Knobelman, Ph.D., in noting that it is critically important to break goals into bite-sized chunks.

When I had a goal of doing daylong media meetings in New York City, I had to think through all the barriers to achieving that goal and all the steps required to meet the goal.

Advertising

One step was identifying which reporters, producers and hosts to engage. Another step was writing a pitch or meeting invitation that would capture their attention. Another step was thinking through the program areas I wanted to highlight and the new angles I could offer to different reporters.

Since reporters want to cover stories that no one else has written, I needed to come up with fresh angles for each of the reporters I was engaging. An additional step was thinking through who from my team I’d take with me to the various meetings.

I was clear that, as a talking head, as public relations reps are sometimes called, I needed the right spokesperson in order to land repeated meetings with different outlets.

A final step was thinking through what I needed to bring to each meeting and which reports, videos and testimonials would buttress our claims and be of interest to media figures.

As I walked through what was needed to bring my goal of doing daylong meetings to reality, I realized that not only was the idea within reach, but I was excited to tackle the challenge.

From that point until now, I have learned to break down goals into smaller parts and tackle the smaller parts on the path to knocking the goal out of the park.

The Bottom Line

These are my recommendations for setting stretch goals, and there are a ton of other resources to support you in the workplace and in your community.

For instance, LinkedIn’s Lynda.com platform has a wonderful suite of leadership development videos, including ones on establishing stretch goals. This is a paid resource but may be worth the investment if you lead a team or want to invest in tools for your own growth and development.

Featured photo credit: Avatar of user Isaac Smith Isaac Smith @isaacmsmith Isaac Smith via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: The Stretch Goal Paradox

Read Next