Tips For Job Seekers: Eight Mind Games Recruiters Play During Interviews

Tips For Job Seekers: Eight Mind Games Recruiters Play During Interviews

Interviewers use a lot of strategies to choose the right candidate. They'll ask certain questions and even play mind tricks that'll make you reveal exactly what kind of worker you are. Below are listed most useful tips for recruiters and for the interviewee.

They will pause for an awkward silence just to get you talking.  It seems like common sense, but put people in a high stress situation — such as a job interview — and combine that with some discomfort and you'll have them begging for things to feel normal. 

When faced with an uncomfortable silence, people will start talking 95 percent of the time. You risk feeling a millisecond of discomfort, but it's worth it if it elicits the facts you are looking for.

They'll ask you specific questions about your former boss — like ask you to spell his or her name — to get you in honesty mode. When you're asked very specific questions about your boss, the interviewer is actually trying to psychologically turn you to honesty mode.

Recruiters are advised to ask for the spelling of the interviewee's former supervisor's name at the beginning of the interview. Since this is such an official formality, it will immediately put the interviewee on alert because they think their former boss will be contacted. Even if the interviewer never plans to contact the supervisor, the point is to get truthful responses from you since it's likely you'll be hesitant to veer too far from the truth at this point.

They'll leave out parts of questions to see how you'll finish answering. If a recruiter asks you to describe a time when you faced a difficult situation, but doesn't specifically ask what you did to try to fix it, they're trying to figure out if you're a "problem bringer" or a "problem solver." 

This question was written for multiple interpretations because if you're a real problem-solver, you simply can't bring yourself to think about a situation as a total failure. You will continue to try until you solve or at least salvage some of it. In contrast, if you're a problem bringer, you will answer the question as is — you will tell the recruiter about a difficult situation and that's it. 

The question is used to reveal the candidate's true attitude, not his or her canned, rehearsed interview personality.

They judge you by your pronoun usage.  The pronoun you use when answering interview questions really matters. Here's what it says about you:

They'll listen closely for your adverb usage — since low performers use 40 percent more adverbs than high performers. High performers are far more likely to give answers without qualifiers. Their answers are direct, factual, in the past tense and personal. Low performers, on the other hand, are more likely to qualify their answers. For instance, they might use adverbs to amp up their answers because the facts probably don't speak well enough on their own. 

Also, low performers are 90 percent more likely to answer with negative emotions than higher performers.

They'll listen to your verb tense when you answer a question — since high performers respond more frequently in the past tense.

Here's what the survey says about verb tense:

So if an employer asks you to describe a difficult situation, you'll respond this way if you're a high performer: "I had a customer who was having issues with her server and was about to miss her deadline," whereas a low performer would say, "I would calm an irrational person by making it clear I know more than she does."

The passive voice typically sounds more awkward than the active voice and is "often used by people trying to sound smarter than they actually are."

In case you weren't sure: 

They'll listen to see how often you use the words "always" and "never." Low performers use absolutes 100 percent more often than high performers. For example, the statement: "The people in this department never know what they're doing and always ask for my help," reveals insecurity in one's abilities.


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