Want to power-up your chances of landing your dream job? Instead of worrying about saying the right things or giving impressive answers, you might like to try these 3 simple hacks for giving a perfect interview - all backed up by psychological research.
In his international bestseller 59 seconds: Think a little, change a lot, Professor Richard Wiseman introduces quick and simple things that people can do to improve their lives. Backed up by psychological research, the book covers everything from creativity to motivation. In a chapter on persuasion, Professor Wiseman provides some great advice on how to significantly increase the chances of landing your dream job. Here's what he says...
Perhaps the most striking advice given in the book is that likeability and coming across as friendly is the most important thing you can do for giving a perfect interview. Research by Chad Higgins and Timothy Judge found that the most important factor for interview success was whether the candidate seemed like a pleasant person. The interviewers, perhaps subconsciously, put more stock in whether they thought a candidate would fit in than if they had the right experience and skills.
So what can you do to be perceived as likeable and demonstrate that you would have a good fit within an organisation? The research revealed the following behaviours that will help show you in a good light:
It’s sometimes hard to know when or how to bring up your weaknesses or things that you think might concern your interviewers. At the same time, we all know the importance of making a good impression by emphasising what we’ve done well. The research presented in 59 seconds… suggests a simple structure to follow for giving a perfect interview despite talking about your weaknesses. Evidence from studies shows that bringing up weaknesses early on tends to mean candidates are presented in a more positive light than if they either ignore them or bring them up later on. At the same time, if you’ve got something good to say then it will be received far better if you save it until later.
Professor Wiseman uses an experiment by researchers at Cornell University to show that when we make mistakes we tend to amplify the impact they have on the people we are with. In reality, it would appear that we tend to overemphasise the impact of our own mistakes. In other words, other people don’t focus on our mistakes as much as we do. This is something called the ‘spotlight effect’:
From assessing the effects of a bad hair day to performing badly in a group discussion, those who feel embarrassed are convinced that their mistakes are far more noticeable than they actually are. Why? It seems we focus on our own looks and behaviour more than others, and so are likely to overestimate their impact.
So, next time you mess up an interview answer or forget the question you’ve been asked, don’t let it get to you - it doesn't mean you're not giving a perfect interview. Move on from it quickly and don’t let it throw you off track!
Although these hacks will go a long way to help improve your chances of giving a perfect interview, remember that on their own they won’t get you the job. However, if you’ve done everything else right then these three things can massively improve the likelihood of you getting the job.