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The Psychology Behind Successful Interviews

  • 16th Jan'24

Job interviews can be a task, especially if you are not prepared for them. Along with preparation, other factors such as anxiety level, timing, and experience can also contribute to the overall interview. Let’s face the truth! Not everyone can excel at interviews on the first try. This is why it’s important to work on one’s presentation and communication skills before going for an interview.

The psychology behind successful interviews lies in one’s ability to carry through the interview confidently. Human psychology plays a huge role in determining the efficacy of a potential candidate. Much like the interviewees, potential employers can also have cognitive biases against a candidate. Understanding how one can rule out these tendencies is the first step toward a successful interview. 

Let’s look at how different engagement factors affect an interview. Simultaneously, we will discuss mental preparation for interviews and how one can crack an interview with ease. At times, despite trying hard, you may feel otherwise. You can also understand the real reason behind imposter syndrome. Let’s get started!

Psychological Influences on Interviewer Behavior

The psychological aspects of job interviews can include several parameters like cognitive biases, emotional intelligence ranking, and other factors. Let’s look at how you can work your way through them.

1. Cognitive biases

Although the definition of cognitive biases cannot be restricted to a single thing, it is often regarded as a combination of irrationality and personal judgments based on previous experiences. Here are the top cognitive biases that can affect interview performance psychology.

  • Confirmation bias - Simply put, it is the tendency to look for information that confirms your personal bias. For instance, interviewers tend to look for potential employers that suit their working styles.

  • Halo effect - The halo effect is a classic part of interview performance psychology in that the interviewer is influenced by the interviewee's character traits. It can also include certain traits that reflect well on the interviewer’s mindset. People who seem approachable are also tied to attributes like kindness and higher intelligence.

  • Primacy and recency effects - As suggested by the name, recency effects are a person’s ability to remember something that is more recently heard. Primacy effects, on the other hand, focus on the interviewee's initial information rather than subsequent portions.

2. Emotional intelligence in interviewing

The term emotional intelligence can be thrown around from time to time in a psychological scenario. But did you know that it can be just as common in an interview success mindset? Here are ways to manage the display of emotional intelligence during interviews.

  • Managing emotions

Interviewers often ask questions that test the emotional repertoire of the subject-

  1. Do you have any role models?

  2. How do you deal with failure?

  3. How do you de-stress after a long day at work?

Interviewers try to put you on a pedestal and test your limitations with multiple questions. In job roles that require the candidate to work with difficult clients or challenging tasks, you can see these questions. 

  • Rapport-building - Among the psychological aspects of job interviews, rapport-building counts as an integral part. The best way to build rapport is to communicate well. Here are some pointers you can follow:

  1. Mirror the interviewer’s body language - It may lead to a cognitive bias, but it might work in your favor.

  2. Know when to pause - When the discussion sways towards politics, religion, or other sensitive issues, ensure to keep your distance. This way, you can avoid hurting the interviewer’s personal beliefs.

  3. Address questions honestly - There is no better way to deal with a question than to answer it honestly. Remember, you can always be diplomatic.

  4. Be a good listener - Before addressing a question, listen to what the interviewer has to say. If they cut you off while answering, they may be testing your engagement and mitigation skills.

Behavioral Techniques You Can Learn

Mentally preparing for interviews can be time-consuming, However, with these techniques, you can easily prepare for interviews:

  1. The STAR technique - This involves asking candidates to describe a situation, task, action, and result to assess their previous experiences and actions.

  2. Role-play scenarios - In a typical interview roleplay scenario, you can expect a hypothetical situation in the workplace that may involve challenges.

  3. Critical-incident technique - The interviewer may engage you in a prior recount of specific incidents. This is to assess your problem-solving or conflict-mitigation skills.

  4. Follow-up questions - Interviewers often probe deeper into a candidate's previous actions or decisions using the same questions. This serves one or both purposes—to see the perseverance of the interviewee and to tread deeper into their work pattern.

How to Keep Calm During an Interview

Interviewers often strive for an open dialogue, encouraging candidates to express themselves freely without fear of judgment. Using these pointers, you can see what you can expect in an interview: 

1. Deal with difficult situations

Difficult situations may arise during an interview, e.g., tense moments or unexpected questions. As part of interview performance psychology, it is important to remain calm in these situations. Redirecting the conversation or offering clarity can often defuse tense moments.

2. Defuse the interviewer's bias

Awareness is the first step in the fight against bias. Structured interviews offer formats and standardized criteria. This counteracts the chance of individual biases taking place. Regular self-reflection and feedback also help to reduce unconscious bias during interviews.

Exceed Job Expectations - Crack Your Interview Instantly

To pass a job interview, you not only have to prove your qualifications but also understand the interviewer's perspective. Applicants who are proficient in soft skills like communication and overall repertoire have a better chance of cracking an interview. 

Moreover, success relies on making a connection that leaves a lasting impression on your interviewer. Go for an interview today!

Shellye is committed to helping people from diverse backgrounds to achieve their aspirations in careers and life. The content published above was made in collaboration with our members.

Shellye Archambeau is determined to help you with all possible strategies to climb the ladder of success. She values your feedback. Do mention them in the comment section below.

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