Manipulate the Job Interview Using Psychology

By Chris Delaney

Share on: 

Psychology is the study of the human mind and human behavior. By understanding the psychology of the job interview you can use this knowledge to influence the interview. Psychology can be applied to manipulate the interviewer increasing the number of job offers you receive.

Time and time again interviewers score applicants higher due to the interviewee and interviewers rapport, due to the interviewer finding commonality with the applicant and due to the interviewer’s positive gut feeling towards the interviewee. 

By understanding the psychology behind likeability, you can use psychological techniques that will give you the edge of other interview applicants.


3 second interview


We are hard wired to typecast, pigeon hole and stereotype. This initial unconscious assessment was originally a safety mechanism that our ancestors used as a lever for our fight or flight response when they came across a new tribe or animal.

We make snap judgments within 1-3 seconds of meeting someone. Thousands of pieces of information formed by our varied senses are filtered rapidly through our memories, past experience and even our current state, to support our unconscious mind to shape an opinion.

In the job interview you can help create a positive image of yourself by preparing a couple of key elements.

  • Visual – your body language is more important than your outfit, ensure you strike a confident pose. When introduced to the employer, you need to greet them with a natural smile and a firm handshake.


Fidgeting is taken as nerves, and looking towards the floor or away from the employer shows a lack of confidence.


Good lucking people are more likely to be liked and recruited. Groom yourself; spend time on your appearance, make-up and hair. Wear clothes that suit your figure and pick suitable colours – blue is unconsciously taken as calm, while red means danger.


  • Auditory – your voice tone, pitch and speed of your introduction will either come across a confident and strong or weak and feeble. Only talk when you have something to say, confident people will not feel the need to fill silences.

Back your voice up with natural hand gestures. We naturally talk with our hands, whereas nervous people will leave their hands stuffed into their pocket which creates a look of awkwardness.

  • Kinesthetic – your handshake will also add to the opinion of the employer. If your palm is facing up this can be taken as a sign of submission. A palm facing down can be taken as aggressive and a palm facing sideways is taken as a sign of equality.


Fake It and Fail


Smiling increases likability, but at an unconscious level we know if someone’s smile is fake or real. If your smile or any part of your introduction is taken as a fraud the employer will simply distrust you. Once a negative opinion is formed about you it is hard to break. 

We can all agree an interview is an unnatural situation to be in, which makes smiling and relaxing a hard task. You can create a real smile by remembering a time you felt really happy. Imagine being at this place as if you were there now, notice everything you can see, what can you hear and smell – how do you feel. As you remember a positive experience your mind will recreate the happy feelings which will bring a real smile to your face. This technique takes a little practice.

Being friendly, open, smiley and happy will have a positive psychological impact on your interviewer. Several experiments have concluded that when you look at someone who is happy you start to feel happy as well, which is a great tool for rapport building in the job interview.


Make the Interviewer Happy


When we feel happy we like to people around us more as we instinctively associate the positive feeling we feel with the people in the room. To increase likeness you can create a positive state in the interviewer during the job interview by praising the company’s’ achievements, complimenting the interviewers personal successes and generally showing enthusiasm throughout the interview.


The Mental Interview  


Athletes and leading sport professionals will use visualization techniques to create a winning and confident state that will boost their performance. You can adopt the same strategy for your forthcoming job interview. Visualize yourself performing exceedingly well during the job interview; answering the questions well, building rapport and even see yourself being offered the position. Your subconscious doesn’t know the difference between a real experience and an imagine experience. This allows your memory to associate positive feelings to the job interview scenario. Next time you attend a real job interview you will automatically remember these confident interview feelings and perform better due to your confident state.


Language That Influences


We all take in information differently through our senses (Visual, kinesthetic or Auditory). We all have a preference to one of our senses and this preference becomes a key filter in our opinion making. By listening to the words the employers uses during the job interview, you can easily workout with is their key preference.


Visual people will use words such as see, visualize, sight, observe, picture. Kinesthetic will use words including get a grip, touch, grasp, cold, gut feeling and auditory people may use the following words hear, sound, louder, tune, that rings a bell.


Only some of what you say slips into the interviewer’s consciousness, by using the words that easily filter through the interviewers mind you can create a strong and more rememberable interview answer.


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 stockimages /

About the company

The team at Social Hire never just do social media marketing.

What the Social Hire gang loves is making a difference for our clients, and we don't want to waste your, or our resources on marketing for marketing's sake, if it doesn't get your organisation the impression you need - we take a different approach. When your business utilises social media management, Social Hire improve the presence of your company online and offer your business the lift it needs to improve.

Isn't it time to stop making difficult personnel choices that don't work well for your online marketing?

The social media marketers in our company are the best in the business at helping our partners enhance their online marketing. We outline and implement cutting-edge social media marketing plans that help our customers realise their organisational objectives and further their social media presence. Our experienced team of digital experts do your social media strategy creation and management in an uncomplicated monthly plan that is cost-effective and is genuinely useful, whatever results you demand from your marketing team.

Our team of managers are a team that assists our partners improve their digital presence by producing online marketing services on a regular basis. Our service is transparent and economical, which ensures that you get a great service and results that make a difference when you utilise our services. We arrange many different marketing services for enterprises from small businesses to large corporations to help make the most of of your company's digital and social marketing.

You might like these blog posts How to Curate The Best Content on Twitter, The Importance of Building a Mailing List for Digital Marketing, 6 Key Steps To Social Media Success, and This Is How Employee Feedback Makes Your Workplace Better [Infographic].

  Back to Candidate blogs