Job interviews are a stressful situation where the stakes are high for you to deliver and impress. When you’re on edge in these make-or-break scenarios, it’s all too easy to put your brain on autopilot and blurt out unrelated nonsense that may have your interviewer scooting away.
To prevent that, we rounded up some of the best psychological mind tricks to get you in the confident and prepared headspace you need to ace an interview:
1) Act like you’ve already gotten the job
To act confident, you need to visualize the finish line and embody the heart and soul of a winner. That’s the technique Capital One human resources executive Meghan Welch told Business Insider successful candidates have used.
It helps if you’ve done the legwork to back this confidence up. Acting like you’ve got the job means you have solutions to questions interviewers bring up. That means preparing beforehand on questions interviewers can ask you, asking your friends to do mock interviews with you, and reading up on the company itself. When you’re that prepared, it will come through in your body language.
When you’re acting as if you already have the role, your interviewers start to see you as a colleague more than one more candidate. For interviewers, Welch said this energy comes off as: “I am super excited about the problem you are talking about right now and I have a whole bunch of ways I would love to solve it.”
Of course, you want to channel the energy of a successful job applicant, but you don’t want to go overboard with it and cross the line into cocky delusion by telling your interviewer: “See you Monday!”
2) Hire-me body language means mirroring your interviewer
How you deliver information can be as revealing as the information itself. Fidgeting hands, drumming fingers, and flailing gestures do not convey hire-me vibes, they expose your nerves. One of the easiest social cues to increase your hiring chances is making regular eye contact with your interviewer. Body language experts have found that when someone looks you in the eye, it indicates confidence, authority, and presence.
Maintaining eye contact is basic body language knowledge. A more advanced class to take is consciously mirroring the tone, posture, mannerisms, and energy of your interviewer. Social psychologists call this the “chameleon effect” and have found that the mirroring increases your interviewer’s chances of liking you and smooths over interactions.
So when your interviewer leans back, you lean back, too — but subtly. (You don’t want to look like an actual mime.)
3) Match what you wear to what you want to project
The colors of what you wear to the interview signal what kind of person you are before you even open your mouth. A 2013 CareerBuilder survey of 2,000 hiring managers and human resources professionals found that colors act as mood rings — and blue was the best color you could wear to look professional.
Here are the qualities the managers in the survey associated with each color:
· Black: Leadership
· Blue: Team Player
· Gray: Analytical
· White: Organized
· Brown: Dependable
· Red: Power
· Orange: Creativity
Although orange signals creativity, it was also the color least liked by managers, with one in four reporting that it looked unprofessional.
4) Be yourself
You want to use these psychological tips to enhance the qualities you already have — interviewers can tell when you’re being phony, and you’ll be penalized for it. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that candidates who have a strong drive to self-verify and present themselves authentically have a higher likelihood of success.
“In a job interview, we often try to present ourselves as perfect. Our study proves this instinct wrong,” the study’s lead author Dr. Celia Moore said. “Interviewers perceive an overly polished self-representation as inauthentic and potentially misrepresentative. But ultimately, if you are a high-quality candidate, you can be yourself on the job market. You can be honest and authentic. And if you are, you will be more likely to get a job.”
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