Using Psychology To Get A Job and Get Ahead

How Psychology Can Influence Job Interviews and Careers

Traditional advice on getting a job and moving up the ranks is all well and good, but sometimes you need to ramp up your game with a little psychology. Let’s review a few psychological tips that the masters use.



Nodding your head is a powerful tool for gaining agreement, and even for convincing yourself of something.

  • If you are asking someone a question and want them to agree, nod your head while you are talking. Science tells us that it makes the listener think that what you are saying is true and they are more likely to agree with you.
  • Nodding your head can also affect your own thoughts. For instance, in a job interview, you may be talking about your strengths. Nodding your head can give you more confidence in them and help sway the interviewer.


You can use speech as an effective tool.

  • Want to be more persuasive? Talk a little faster and pause a little more often. Research indicates that rapid-fire talkers and sluggish talkers are not as effective as the moderately fast talker. Scientists at the University of Michigan discovered that people who spoke at three to five words per second and who took four to five pauses per minute were the most convincing.Psychology Graphic Voice pitch made little difference in women talkers. However, in men talkers, listeners believed lower pitched voices were more persuasive.
  • Pauses can also help you elicit more information out of someone. People don’t like silence. So, if you don’t talk, they will. This is a great tool to use during negotiations. Keep silent and let the other person feel pressure to move the conversation forward. Using silence, research shows – also makes people think you are a good listener and more attractive because of this trait. Additionally, employing silence can make you appear wise.
  • You also can use psychology to keep people from talking badly about you in a professional setting. When you suspect someone might talk badly about you in a meeting, sit next to him. People have a harder time saying something negative about someone who is nearby.


Whether looking for a job or climbing the corporate ladder, you’ll need to build rapport with interviewers, colleagues and bosses.

  • First impressions are powerful and there are several ways to make a good one that helps build rapport. First, when you shake hands, be sure your hands are warm. Studies have linked physical warmth with psychological warmth.
  • Good eye-contact can signal everything from confidence and extroversion to earnestness and believability, at least in western society. The trick is to ensure you don’t overdo the eye contact. Too much eye contact often is deemed as a threat or an attempt to gain dominance. If you look away and don’t maintain adequate eye contact, it may appear you are lying, bored or shy. Our eyes also mirror our emotions. When we see emotion in a person we like them more.
  • Matching and mirroring the behaviors of others shows you are in tune with them. So, in an interview, for instance, you may want to subtly mirror the interviewer’s posture, gestures, and even tone of voice. But don’t overdo it or it may appear you are mocking them.  
  • Asking for a small favor, such as a cup of coffee, helps make a positive connection. This has been called the Ben Franklin effect. The Founding Father observed that by asking a small favor from someone will make them more likely to do another favor for you than they would have if you had done the favor for them. Research has proven this. A UNC study found that a subject’s kind behavior toward a person make them like that person more.
  • Practicing reflective listening, particularly if applying for a managerial position or if you are a manager. This strategy requires you to listen and try to understand what someone is really saying. Then, paraphrase what they said to confirm that you understood. This shows you are interested in the person, as well as intelligent, and helps build rapport.

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