Have you ever questioned the traditional job interview process? Why do we put candidates in a room, drop question after question, and have them regurgitate stories and fact? Instead of revealing your true character and capabilities, it may feel like interviews are designed to give people an opportunity to stretch the truth--or even lie.
Nevertheless, companies still use this interview style in the hiring process. Regardless of if you are the best candidate or not, the key is in understanding how to win over the interviewer.
As a human behavior scientist, I have come across countless concepts and studies. Here are five tips to remember in your next interview to help you nail it:
1. Understand implicit egotism
People are fundamentally more attracted to qualities that remind them of themselves. In a recent study that I conducted with MIT, NYU, Kellogg and the dating app Hinge, we found that people with the same initials are 11.3 percent more likely to date.
Many other common associations, from hometown and school to style and name, can draw people together. The greater associations that you can find between you and your interviewer, the greater impression you'll make on them.
2. Show you're the same as or the opposite of your predecessor
Learn who held the position last and if they were well-liked. Then, find out what were that individual's strengths and weaknesses. Managers will often fill a role that is recently vacant by finding somebody that is completely different than the last person. Prove that you possess all of those strengths and none of those weaknesses. If they were extremely disappointed to lose the previous employee, they will look for an identical match.
3. Be a great storyteller
Telling somebody that you are honest is meaningless. Telling a story that demonstrates that you are honest is more believable and inspiring. A great example is sharing a story about making the difficult but right decision even though it may have meant hardship. (e.g. Turning down venture capital, because you didn't think the investor was the right fit for your company.)
4. Prep and train your references
If you use a reference, hop on the phone with them for a few minutes and see what stories and points they'll share. It doesn't hurt to remind them of the great things that you did together or the contributions that you made to the team.
5. Use information gaps
Professor George Loewenstein theorized that curiosity is created when there is a gap between what is being presented and what you know. The gap must be big enough to create interest but not so much that it confuses people. Curiosity can attract people to you and make them want to get to know you more. As the adage goes, always leave them wanting more. Answer their questions, but bring up additional ideas that would require more time than is allotted for them to understand. This will leave a gap in their knowledge and cause people to remember you more.
With these five tips, you can walk into your next interview more confident. However, remember that if you land the job, you need to be able to do it. If you aren't right for a position, it will become clear early on.