Is Manipulation Wrong in the Job Interview?

By Chris Delaney

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Influencing the job interview is key to interview success. Some interviewees will feel interview manipulation is wrong, but no matter how you approach a job interview you will influence the outcome either positively or negatively.

If you are going to influence the employers job hiring decision you may as well influence the interview outcome by ensuring that you are offered the job. In the job interview situation you can use conversational hypnosis to first elicit the employers criteria and values, before using some sneaky influential techniques to increase interview success.

3 Steps for Interview Influence

Step 1. Eliciting the Employers Values

To influence anyone, you first need to understand their values – the key elements that they deem as important. In a job interview these values will be work related and often include work ethic, attention to detail or creativity, target driven or person centred approach, team work or productivity. It doesn’t matter what the values are as long as you elicit them early on in the job interview.

To elicit the employers values, at the interview start simply ask "what type of person are you looking for?" then listen to the employer’s criteria. To build on this and to double check the importance of the criteria, use a "listen and question" technique. The job interviewer will often open the interview by discussing the history of the business, highlighting success before explaining potential business developments.

Rather than sitting there, as most people do nodding away, ask the interviewer questions on what they have just discussed. "you just mentioned that you are looking at expanding into a new sector, what would you foresee as the potential barriers and what would you do to overcome these?" Again listen to their response, as their criteria will be given away through their answers. "we would set up a detailed procedure" "we would look at a innovative way to move forward"

Both answers have a focus on overcoming the barrier and moving forward, but the first answer is from an employer who is very procedural, organised and a planner. The second answer comes from an employer who preferences innovation, creativity and ideas. You can now, with this knowledge word your interview answers so they meet the employers personal criteria.

Step 2 - Deep Rapport Building

People like people who are like them. Find commonality to build rapport, if you notice a picture of a football team hanging in the interviewers room, ask if they are a fan, if they respond with a yes start a conversation about a recent game.

There are many ways to deepen rapport, which are covered in the the 73 rules for influencing the interview, but the easiest way to get anyone to like you is through a smile. Now this may seem old hat? But the science for this is real. Psychologist in several experiments have wired volunteers up to monitor the neutrons in the brain when people smile. They found that something amazing happened; when you smile your muscles are pulled in such away that your neurons fire and you feel good about yourself, but what’s even more amazing is, when the person who sees you smile is also wired up the psychologist discovered that there happy neurons also fire just by seeing you smile.

Hypnotist to build rapport will use the "client’s words." This is because we all make different meanings from the same word. People will often use clusters of either visual words; watch, view, vision, look, picture this, image, imagine, seen. Auditory words; sounds like, clear as a bell, tone, noise, sound, clear, listen, voice, rhythm, tune. Kinaesthetic words; feeling, touch, warmth, love, hot, handle, grasp

By talking on the interviewers language, potential miscommunication becomes obsolete as your words make perfect sense in the interviewer's mind. Words create images, which create an emotional response; the wrong word can create a negative feeling towards you, which can put the interviewer off "I had a bad feeling about him"


Step 3 - Focus The Interviewer on the Goal

Ever wondered how athletes perform so well? The secret is they visualise the outcome of a goal not just the goal, the long distance runner doesn’t see themselves running for miles and miles, they visualise themselves winning the race, being interviewed, getting cheered by the crowd.

For the successful interviewee, you need to influence the interview by making the employer visualise you being successful in their company and the outcome to this success. To create a outcome orientated focus interviewer follow these three simple rules


Rule 1 – talk about the future not the past; it’s good to highlight your past successes a little, but in reality interviewers aren’t interested in what you did, they want to know WHAT YOU WILL DO for them. They want to know how you will make a difference, how you will use your skills to make their organisation successful and how by hiring you they will increase their profit.

When delivering an answer, explain how this skill or experience will lead to them making a bigger profit. “Yes im a highly experienced hair dresser, I have a great reputation with customers and 70% of my customers have confirmed that they will follow me to which ever saloon I choose to work at” Not only will the employer gain an experienced hair dresser, they will by employing someone who will immediately increase their customer base.

Rule 2 – Explain what you did; In many job interview the interviewee will often downplay their hard work. Modesty gets you know where in a job interview, instead explain what part you took in projects, and in detail discuss how without you the project wouldn't have been unsuccessful. A commonly asked questions is “tell about a time you were involved in a successful project” Many interviewees reply with “We recently ran X project, it was highly successful. The company on the back of this project was given additional business…”

The answer is stated positively and discusses the outcome from the project which is fine, but no where does it state the interviewees involvement. In all your interview answers, discuss your involvement, what you did, your ideas and how you made the project a success. “I was recently involved in X project, my role was X…..I was responsible for Y…..with this idea, the project wouldn't have been as successful...”

Rule 3 – create choice with no choice; at the interview end you will be given the chance to ask some questions. This is another chance to ask a future pace question, to get the employer to visualise you being successful while working for them.You can offer this question in the form of a “double bind.” A double bind questions offers two answers, but each answer leads the listener down the same path. "What’s more important to you, me having creative ideas or me being able to implement the ideas?" With this example, the interviewer no matter what answer they pick, has to see you being creative or implementing creative ideas. Compare this to a closed question “Do you want to hear my creative ideas?”

By following these 3 simple steps; eliciting the employers values/criteria, creating strong rapport and focusing the interviewer on the outcome – the profits you will increase, they are more likely to be influence into employing. Why would they let someone go if they like them, they have the same values and they will boost productivity, business and profits?


Chris Delaney is a career coach and author of The 73 Rules for Influencing the Interview using Psychology, NLP and Hypnotic Persuasion Techniques

Image courtesy of Ambro /

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