Hacks to help you during an interview.

6 Psychological hacks

to help you
during an Interview
Written by Madge Gibson

When it comes to job interviews, how you act is almost as important as what you say.

While you’re concentrating on answering questions, your body is revealing subconscious clues about what you’re thinking and feeling (embodied cognition).

Here are a few hacks to support you during your interview.

1. Warm up
Arrive a few minutes early and visit the bathroom. Take a few deep breaths and shake off any lingering tension. Wash and then warm your hands, either under hot water or under a hand dryer. Sounds bland but dry, warm hands inspire confidence. Cold, clammy hands are a big turn-off. As are hot, sweaty hands.

Putting yourself in the right mindset from the start will help you focus and calm your nerves.

2. Mirror their movements
Mirroring is a social phenomenon where people unconsciously mimic anothers posture, gestures or words. When you notice subtle mirroring occurring between two people, it indicates that there is an unconscious comfort, trust or rapport between them. It’s a good thing.
Applying this technique consciously can be a helpful tool to build rapport, but it needs to be done very subtly or it will backfire.

If you’re sitting down, you could mimic the other person’s seated posture. Or look at their hands, are they crossed or uncrossed? Do the same. If they gesticulate with their hands during conversation, you could also use your hands. Do they sit very still and formal? Then keep your movements to a minimum. Don’t copy everything they do, just choose one or two aspects.

Note: mirroring is about empathy and attunement, not mimicry. So tune in.

3. Slow down
You may feel compelled to answer each question quickly, but don’t be afraid to take a few seconds to collect your thoughts. A slower response is more impactful than a rushed one. Also, consciously slowing down the torrent of words will give you greater control over what comes out of your mouth.  Keep your ‘speech pace’ calm and measured. Not rushed. You will appear more thoughtful and confident.

4. Watch your body language
A nervous habit, such as cracking your knuckles, playing with your pen or bouncing your foot, can be disruptive and interfere with the flow of the meeting. Are you smiling or grimacing? Are your arms crossed, or relaxed and open? Are you sitting or slouching? Become aware of your body language and manage it as best you can.

Similarly, be alert to the facial expressions of the interviewer, including micro expressions (involuntary flashes of expression). Your interviewer’s facial expressions can provide valuable feedback on how the interview is going. Watch for signs of boredom, keen interest or skepticism. For example, if they lock eyes with you, they’re probably expecting you to elaborate more. Picking up on these nuances will help you tailor your responses to keep the interview on track.

5. Connect with your interviewer
Finding common ground with your interviewer creates a personal bond, making it easier to connect. Think about it this way, if you were forced to meet 20 strangers at a function and it turned out one of them had attended the same university as you – you would probably gravitate to that person because you had something in common.

Try to find something that bonds you through visual clues, such as a common school, interest or sport. It’s not always possible, but when the opportunity arises, use it to your advantage.
In this scenario ‘familiarity breeds comfort”.

6. Visualize the ideal interview
Visualisation can be very helpful in preparing for important or stressful situations. Start visualizing yourself in the interview a few days beforehand. Rehearse what you want to say and how you want to feel during the interview (e.g. calm, confident and composed).

The key to visualisation success is accessing the emotions of what you’re visualising, not just watching the scenario play out in your mind. For example, if you want to feel confident, physically take a deep breath, puff out your chest, hold your head high and imagine being gloriously confident. It is the combination of visualisation and feeling the associated emotions that anchors the memory. The more you practice the better you’ll do. When you arrive, tap into the memory of your visualised practice sessions - it’ll help you get into that mindset.

* Article inspired and adapted from a post on businessinsider.com

Article by Madge Gibson, Harfield Village Resident