Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Join us as we talk about…

In this week’s episode…

  • You will learn the importance of giving to receive during a job interview
  • You will learn the influence of showcasing endorsements and approvals from previous employers or colleagues
  • Finally you will learn the concept that once someone commits to something small, they are more likely to agree to something bigger.

As PhDs, we really hate the idea of selling ourselves. Even watering down the word “selling” to “marketing” ourselves or “persuading” others hurts. But to get hired, that’s exactly what you have to do. This is especially true during the interview process. When it comes to sitting across from another person, by video or in person, the art of persuasion can significantly boost your chances of success.

So today I wanted to talk about 5 psychological tricks (they’re not really tricks, more like nuances, but the word trick spices things up a bit).

First is the law of reciprocity: you have to give to get. The concept here is simple, people feel obliged to return favors. So how do you apply this? Offer something valuable during your interview, like unique insights or solutions to potential problems the company faces. This can create a subconscious desire in the interviewer to reciprocate with a job offer. One example might be sharing a relevant article or piece of information that can help the company or the interviewer.

Second is the law of social proof and the easiest way to leverage this law is to showcase endorsements. Look – like it or not, people are influenced by actions and approvals of others, so make sure you’re mentioning endorsements from previous employers or colleagues subtly during your interviews. Share stories of how you’ve been a valuable team player or leader in past roles. Discuss awards, recognitions, or positive feedback from past projects or roles. They’ll know what you’re doing but it doesn’t matter; it still works.

Third, show commitment and consistency: The concept here is straightforward – once someone commits to something small, they’re more likely to agree to something bigger. How to apply this is also simple. You can encourage the interviewer to make small commitments, like agreeing to a second interview or a follow-up call. This can lead them to be more open to offering you the job.

Never leave a conversation with an interviewer without getting their phone number and committing to a date for you to follow up with them by phone if you don’t hear back. You can also do this in the reverse in a sense, by applying the Door-In-The-Face Technique. This refers to a famous experiment that involves making a large request that is expected to be refused, followed by a smaller, more reasonable request. The refusal of the first request increases the likelihood of the second request being accepted.

How is this relevant. Well, in an interview, you can apply this by initially discussing a major achievement or how qualified you believe you are for a bigger role, then quickly scaling back to how your skills perfectly align with the job at hand.

The fourth concept is likability, or building rapport. Oh man, how I wish I could give a 5 day seminar on this to PhDs (and have them attend and listen). It’s the number one reason they don’t get hired. Look – people are more likely to be persuaded by those they like, so you need to immediately find common ground with your interviewer. Compliment the company and its achievements genuinely. Show enthusiasm and warmth. Commenting on a recent company achievement or finding a common interest with the interviewer will go a long way to getting you hired.

Fifth and finally is scarcity. You need to highlight your unique skills because people value what’s scarce. So build rapport by discussing your transferable skills, the skills the hiring manager understands, but then emphasize unique skills or experiences that set you apart from other candidates. Make it clear that what you offer isn’t easily found in the job market. Keep the conversation coming back to your PhD and how that makes you better equipped to learn on the job than anyone else. Persuasion is a powerful tool in job interviews.

By understanding and applying these psychological principles, you can significantly enhance your chances of receiving a job offer. Remember, it’s not just about what you say, but how you say it and the psychological cues you utilize

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