10 psychological tricks to help you master any job interview

The big interview is around the corner. 

Understandably, you can’t help but feel a bit jittery. 

Getting a call back was an accomplishment in itself. But you want more. 

You have to hit a home run in this interview or it’s back to the drawing board. 

You’ve done your homework. You’ve watched and re-watched the YouTube video about how to nail a job interview. 

The ball is in your court. 

In this article, I’ll walk you through some easy psychological tricks to help you master your upcoming job interview. 

Ready to get the job of your dreams? Let’s dive in! 

1) Positive visualization 

Before you walk into that room, take the time to visualize yourself thriving. 

Create a mental scenario of you answering the questions flawlessly, even the tough ones, leaving a lasting impression on the interviewers. 

Have this visualization stored away, referring to it when you feel the nerves creeping up. 

The more detail, the better. 

Consider this rehearsal time. So when the grand performance comes around, you’ll feel confident and ready, with manageable apprehension. 

2) Self-affirmation

If you’re full of doubts before your interview, that doesn’t bode well for your chances of success. 

Think about it: if you don’t feel deserving of the position, your aura will likely reflect that sentiment, and HR is trained to pick up on uncertainty. 

Instead, make use of positive affirmations to boost your self-belief. 

Keep refreshing your memory about your skills, achievements, and qualifications and how they’re relevant to the position. 

In job interviews (and life in general), the more you believe in yourself, the further you’ll go. 

3) Controlled breathing 

Sometimes, nerves can be the difference between you and prosperity. 

You’re qualified, you’re smart, you’re professional. 

But being excessively anxious? This can be detrimental to your chances. 

Focusing on things like breathing techniques can calm you before and during the interview. 

Deep, controlled, mindful breaths promote reduced anxiety, allowing you to be present and focused on the moment, rather than ruminating to oblivion. 

4) Mirroring

Think of your job interview as a first date, minus the romance. 

It can be nerve-racking, it can be awkward, it can be painful–but if you are constantly in sync with your date, then expect to get lucky. 

Building a sense of rapport with your interviewer is crucial.

You can do this through your charm and presence, sure, but you can also do it through subtly mirroring their body language and speech patterns. 

Mirroring can subconsciously break down barriers and make the interviewer feel more comfortable and at ease with you (green flag!) which will invariably make you stand out. 

For instance, if the interviewer leans in and speaks with enthusiasm, you can reciprocate the gesture by executing a similar posture and tone. 

Body language is a big deal. Let’s discuss it further in the next point…

5) Confident posture

This one should be a no-brainer. 

You want to show assertiveness in your interview; you want to resoundingly exhibit how you’ll be an asset to the company more than anything else. 

Our level of poise and authority can sometimes be communicated by body language alone. 

So if slouching is your default posture, you’ll want to suck it up and maintain an upright stance for the 30 to 45 minutes you’re in that interview room. 

Sit and stand up straight; and while you’re at it, give a firm handshake and make eye contact when you speak. 

Good posture indicates self-assuredness and competence. 

6) Storytelling

pic1619 10 psychological tricks to help you master any job interview

Here’s the thing: you can have credentials through the roof, but if you fail to show any personality, this can hold you back

So instead of just robotically outlining your skills and experiences, provide brief anecdotes that are memorable and engaging and illustrate your problem-solving skills. 

Take the time to think of a fitting example, then structure it so it’s appealing but concise and to the point. 

Maybe during the pandemic, your company was in crisis, so you went above and beyond your duties, working overtime to help keep things afloat; or something to that effect. 

You get the gist. 

7) Active listening

When your interviewer speaks, you don’t want to be passively nodding your head the entire time. 

You want to demonstrate your ability to listen actively; this can be done by thoughtfully summarizing what the interviewer has said before responding. 

This shows attentiveness and consideration. 

Don’t interrupt, don’t daydream, and don’t be preoccupied with formulating a response as they talk. 

Absorb what they have to say, ask questions, and make meaningful comments. 

When you listen actively, quality responses tend to come naturally. 

8) Charisma 

As established, rapport is a big deal. 

When the interview dies down, and you both begin to lower your defenses, try to find likeness with the interviewer. 

Maybe you pick up on an accent, or a university plaque, or notice a fragrance they’re wearing. 

Some light banter goes a long way. 

You can gently say something along the lines of, “Did you go to UCLA? My sister went there. Go Bruins!” 

And then you can briefly discuss your experiences at the campus, embellishing where necessary. 

The key is to find common ground and to humanize yourself; so your final moments with the interviewer are memorable and distinct rather than routine. 

9) Pausing for impact 

You don’t want to say whatever pops into your head, or you’ll risk rambling incoherently. 

Take a second to collect your thoughts before responding to questions. 

A contemplative pause tends to make your answers more articulate and impactful, and will surely impress the interviewer. 

10) Research 

Now ‘research’ might not sound psychological per se, but it is extremely critical. 

You don’t go to battle unarmed. 

The more you know about the company and industry, the better. 

The more research you’ve done, your level of preparedness will show–and the ensuing confidence and self-assuredness will feel organic. 

Like anything in life, if you put in the extra time, this will almost always work to your advantage. 

Fresh out of college, I remember I’d go to job interviews with the bare minimum of research done. 

Maybe I’d browse the company website for a whopping 30 seconds and feel sufficiently prepared. 

When the interviewer would ask me about the company, I’d essentially go blank, frantically trying to conjure up a passable response, with minimal success

Needless to say, I didn’t wasn’t summoned back particularly often. 

Final words 

Job interviews can be daunting. 

The more preparation you’ve done, the easier they become to master. 

Half the battle is mental. 

Once you know how to move forward psychologically, you’ll feel confident and ready, and your chances of success will go up dramatically. 

Your dream job isn’t just a dream. If you play your cards right, it can very well be a reality. 

Picture of Clifton Kopp

Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Ideapod! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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