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The Psychology of Interviewing

After applying for job after job, when you get the call for a job interview, initially it can be very exciting. Then your nerves start to set in. You try to prepare for an interview but trying to figure out what hiring managers are looking for can leave you confused and anxious.

The psychology of interviewing can be difficult to tackle. There are so many elements that impact the perfect interview. There are various elements to consider when preparing for an interview.

Factors You May Not Have Considering

The timing of an interview matters. You may want to choose a time that is most convenient for you but that is certainly not a winning strategy. Too early in the morning before someone’s had a chance to settle in, right after lunch or towards the end of day are times that should be avoided if at all possible. Mondays and Fridays are not ideal either. You want to catch the hiring manager when they can give their full attention. Most people don’t give a second thought to the interview time, but it is your first major strategic decision.

First Impression

You need to come into an interview ready to engage immediately. There is no time to warm up in the bull pen so to speak. Those first few minutes are essential. Get in superhero mode and sell yourself as the candidate to beat. Having said that, creating a winning elevator pitch is essential to an effective interview. Career coaches are highly effective at helping you frame your pitch, focusing on what’s most relevant to the hiring manager.

Common Ground

It seems obvious, people like people who are similar in interests, values and opinions. Researching the hiring manager and recruiter is an important element of your plan of attack. Identify common ground and find an opportunity to weave it into the conversation during the small talk stage. Individuals tend to like people who they can relate to, people who are like them. Although in theory, we are aware of that, it rarely becomes part of the candidate’s preparation. Mervat Elschwarby, Lead Resume Writer and Career Coach from NYC Resume, Interview & Online Prep states “Connecting with the interviewer early on and establishing common ground will typically result in more favorable ratings on the actual interview questions. If they like you personally, they want to like you as a candidate. Although it is done subconsciously, it’s an important element to master for the interview process.”


There’s a balance between confidence and arrogance. Although an interviewer may be impressed with your skills and experience, they’re also evaluating you in determining how well you will fit in with the team. If they sense you lack approachability, it will weigh into how much they like you as a candidate.

Body Language

Mirroring the interviewers’ body language, mannerisms and gestures are something you should incorporate into the interviewing process. It may initially feel unnatural, but you get better at it with practice. There’s a name for this phenomenon. It’s referred to as the chameleon effect. You want to establish a rhythm with the interviewer. You can start doing it with colleagues and friends to test it out and practice in a safe environment. You can hire a career coach to share expertise and practice.

Eye contact right at the beginning is vital to establishing trust, exhibiting confidence and being perceived as intelligent. That one gesture conveys all that, wow. We talk about eye contact and understand the value however when the moment arrives, too many individuals pass up this opportunity to relay so much in this one gesture.

Balancing Act

The entire process is a balancing act, you want to be likeable however if you smile too much or make jokes, you may not be taken seriously. While it’s essential to showcase your major accomplishments and exhibit confidence, boasting is frowned upon. That is why it is referred to as the psychology of interviewing. There are so many subtle nuances that you should be aware of so you can successfully strike the right balance.

The psychology of interviewing can be tricky. Proper preparation, putting yourself in the interviewer’s shoes and connecting with them using psychology is essential to a successful interview. Every decision you make from the interview time to what you wear to how you connect with them matters. Develop a thoughtful approach to every interview so you can set yourself apart from other candidates.

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