The Psychology of a Good Interview

Bob's Blog #6

 

The Psychology of a Good Interview

By Bob McIndoe

We’ve already talked about interview preparation, as well as some tips on how to make sure you put your best foot forward during the interview itself. But in many ways, a good interview isn’t just about the things you say and do – it’s about how you do them.

Just as in much of HR, there is a lot of psychology at work in the interview interaction. To interview well, you want to be noticed, remembered, trusted and liked – and you want to create an impression of competence and expertise.

To create this impression on your interviewer, what you say actually isn’t as important as how you say it. One study suggests that the verbal portion of an interview (that is, the content of what you say) comprises about seven per cent of the overall impression you give; your tone and the way you verbally express yourself makes up 38 per cent. And the most important factor of all? The way you visually present yourself, such as through your appearance, body language, gestures and the like makes up 55 per cent of the overall impression.

Keep these things in mind when deciding how to dress and present yourself. Practice using smooth gestures, steady eye contact – and on the day of the interview, say no to coffee if you’re offered some. It could make you a bit jittery or jumpy.

Another psychological trick to consider is that of mirroring. By mirroring the interviewer’s body language – in a subtle way, of course – you subconsciously build rapport with them.

If possible, attempt to schedule the interview for earlier in the day as opposed to later – that way, your interviewer is likely to be fresher and more attentive instead of tired or fatigued from a long day. Sit diagonally or directly across from them if possible – this is ideal in that it facilitates natural eye contact and easy conversation.

To psychologically boost your own confidence, it’s a good idea to re-read your own resume just before heading in to the interview. This way, you are reminded of all your past accomplishments and everything you’ve written on your resume is fresh in your mind before the questions begin.

During the interview, you should also try to frame your narrative about yourself and your skills in the context of making a business case to the interviewer. If you can present yourself in the context of how you will add business value, it immediately positions you as an asset to the company. 

 

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