I was sent an email from a student of my NLP Job Hunting Skills material with a genius idea for taking control of an interview. I thought I would share it because it also has applications outside of the job interview situation and is a really powerful technique.
Let’s start with the email Amrith sent in with his ideas on taking control and then we can discuss the implications of his suggestion. Here is his email in full:
I got your hypnotic interviewing lesson package and am just going through the course right now. So far it’s been really interesting, and I’m working towards trying out the material in practice, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the response is from companies I apply to.
So I got to the section about the first two minutes, and I had an idea for a routine to try out in an interview; and was wondering if I could get your thoughts on it. It’s one of those cocky confident routines, so here it goes.
Once you are about a minute and a half to two minutes in to the interview, you ask to pause the interview for a moment. You then ask your interviewer(s) to be perfectly honest with you and to tell you how they feel about you as an applicant so far. Then you continue to explain that the reason for your question is lots of research has shown that it’s within the first 30 seconds that it’s decided if the applicant is going to be hired or not and after that it’s pretty much just the applicant having to find ways to disqualify themselves. Then you ask them to respond.
That last bit might need some rewording.
This opens doors to:
- (if you actually did a good job in the first 30 seconds) reinforce the idea that they are interested in you by them voicing out that you are doing well.
- (if you did a poor job), have them lie and say that you are doing okay, unfortunately this reinforces that you did a poor job in their minds… but the battle was probably lost anyway.
- (if you did a poor job), and they are honest with you, gives you a slim opportunity to turn the interview around by saying to them “the issue isn’t that I had a weak handshake (or etc.), the issue is that I have the right experience and attitude for this job, and that’s what you’re looking for in an applicant”.
Let me know what your thoughts.
Oh, and a side note; I’m really pleased with my investment in your course. Even if I try my hardest and your system doesn’t work out for me, I think I’ve found some gems of wisdom in the material that will be of good use to me in both my work and personal life.
The Illusion of Choice
I really like Amrith’s thinking here and I am not sure that I would use this strategy all the time. The issue is not about the structure of his suggestion, I think that is genius. The issue I have is that you are pulling into the light a lot of things people don’t usually like to acknowledge.
Supposing you have an interviewer that likes to think that they make decisions based on logic and criteria. This strategy in all likelihood really annoy them.
Also you are inviting the interviewer to stand outside of the process and comment on the process. For some people this is quite a challenging thing to do. It could seem like you are challenging the system generally or more specifically the interviewer.
Another challenge here is that doing this could be seen as very overtly taking control of the interview. The result could be all the good will you spent the last 90 seconds building could be lost because of any of these.
If you are really good at cock confident and have built some solid rapport up to this point this approach may seal the deal for you if you have gauged the interviewer properly.
My general approach is to allow the interviewer(s) the illusion of choice and not be seen to be subverting the system until I know I can get benefits from it.
The Key to Success
The real key to success though is noticing what reaction you are getting and having the flexibility to change what you are doing in response. In that regard what Amrith is suggesting is an excellent idea and has a lot of potential. And if I had thought of it when I was taking lots of interviews I would have tested this. I am hoping that Amrith and a few other readers will have a go at this strategy and report back their findings.
If you want more powerful job hunting strategies then a good place to find them would be The Persuasion Skills Black Book of Job Hunting Techniques.
You can click through and get a copy of the book at either Amazon store below:
Since writing this article I have emailed back and forth with Amrith and I think his email deserves some thought. Here is the email (I have edited out all the irrelevant bits):
Thanks for the feedback. And yes, please feel free to publish the article as is.
Thinking about what you said about there being a chance you will annoy the interviewer (yes, this is something I had not considered), what are your thoughts about the interviewee dismissing the hypothesis preemptively? So it does not risk insulting the interviewer.
They propose the question, and at the end they add, “This hypothesis might just be a load of nonsense, but I don’t see any harm in entertaining the notion for a moment. Suppose you were consciously unhappy with something I indicated on my resume or coverletter, or less consciously so with something like say my handshake; then I believe its quite unlikely that its not going to fix itself unless we air it out and fix it pro-actively. My experience has taught me that when you realize something is broken, then you need to stop and take a moment to fix it or it’s just going to get worse.”
That last bit was something I wanted to find a way to throw in somewhere in my interview, because I think its something companies will find to be a positive trait for my field (engineering).
The downside of this is its getting to be a lot of moving parts to this routine, so there’s more chance you’re going to fumble on your words and make it seem scripted.
What is the real issue?
Here is an edit of the reply I sent Amrith:
Okay the issue is not about the content of what you are saying that might annoy the interviewer, it is about derailing their process. So for example if 90 seconds into the interview you suddenly open up a conversation about the socio-economic of Thailand, even if this is the interviewer’s favourite topic it is likely to annoy the interviewer because it has derailed the process. Even worse if you successfully manage to do this it will rub the interviewer’s nose in the fact that it is you that has control of the interview. I am not saying you shouldn’t do this, I am saying pick your moments and do it with care. When you get the book opened you will find early on a section where I deliberately derailed an interview and as a result got the job.
So where I am with this is that you should do this when you know the first 90 seconds have gone really well and you have the rapport to shift the interviewer into other subjects such as future pacing just how good you are going to make the interviewer look when you start the job.
Here are the links to get the Persuasion Skills Black Book of Job Hunting Techniques from Amazon again: