The Key to Winning Jobs: Understanding Employer Psychology

By Hannah Whittenly

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One of the best tools in a job search tool box is understanding how an employer’s mind works. If you can understand the inner workings of an employer’s mind, then you’ll have a huge leg up in your search. Fortunately, many employers are pretty easy to read.

People Can Easily Perceive Insincerity

While it may be habit to put on a fake smile as soon as you walk in to the interview, humans are incredibly perceptive and your employer will be able to pick up on your false body language. Studies show a fake smile results in poor evaluation results. Instead, work on naturally appearing pleasant, only smiling when you genuinely feel like it.

People Want to Feel Fascinating

Any good employer is going to have a sense of pride in the work that they do and the company they stand for. Every professional with pride in their work wants to feel like a fascinating individual. Students who are currently working on their online master of science in applied psychology at the University of Southern California are studying the effect of fascination in business. What they are finding is that when a particular individual makes a client or employer feel fascinating, they are more likely to buy or hire.

So how can you do that? Get online and scour LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+. Dig through a company’s website and find what is special about them. Get passionate and interested about it. Be ready in interviews to ask more questions about what interests you. You’ll make someone who is hiring you feel like they are fascinating and you’ll boost your chances of being hired. If you can’t find anything, you probably aren’t looking at the right company for you.

Employers Want to Hire for Company Culture

Part of the hiring process is determining if you would serve as a good face for the company. Culture is a huge item on the agenda for many CEO’s and other executives. It is generally accepted that group mojo and vibe have a huge effect on the strength of an organization. You should count on company administration to be pushing hiring managers to find faces and personalities that will contribute to a good culture.

How can you boost how you are perceived? Take a look at your digital footprint. What picture have you painted on social media? Get on the right social media channels and share insightful content, and even some humorous content when appropriate. The resulting effect will be the digital reflection of someone who will contribute valuable insight, and keep team morale high.

Social Gestures Make Impressions

Have you ever heard of the five love languages? The gist of the philosophy is that every individual receives love in a specific way. That way is the language that they feel most loved in. If you take that philosophy and apply it to your job search, you can learn a few things. Employers want to feel respected, but each individual might receive respect in a different way.

Some gestures that you can master for all kinds of different personality types are:

  • Handshakes: It seems small, but a confident handshake will deliver a positive message.
  • Respectful words: Use sir, or mamn. Avoid slang, or sloppy speech.
  • Be conversational: Some employers need to feel a connection with you at a professional level, so loosen up with them. Ask them about themselves, laugh out loud, and remember things they tell you.
  • Make it easy on them: Craft a clear resume that addresses every point of the job listing. Don’t take too much time in the interview. Invite them out to lunch when appropriate.

Employer psychology is not difficult to understand and has been studied so extensively that there are papers and papers of research backing up the effectiveness of the most common tips. Follow these and you will have no problem snagging that next job.


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