Influencing the Job Interview 6 Principles of Persuasion

Influencing the Job Interview using the 6 Principles of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini


As a leader in the laws of influencing and persuasion Dr. Robert Cialdini’s book The Psychology of Influence is an insightful read on the principals of influencing and persuasion techniques. We have taken what Dr Cialdini researched in his book and made it relevant to the job interview to help you win more job offers achieving your career success.


The six principles of influence can be used in a job interview to get more job offers, be warned though, as discussed in the book “influencing the interview” some of these techniques can be dark and dangerous, but they will increase your chances of securing you a 6 figure job offer.



First Principle: COMMITMENT


People like to follow through on their commitments; we all strive for consistency and when we commit verbally or in writing to something, we won’t want to back out of this commitment. Which is why pick artist, master persuaders and powerful business leaders use the principle of commitment to persuade and influence.


To win job offers you first need to gain the employers commitment, if they commit to employing you during the interview they won’t want to change their mind. This principle is powerful in job interviews, because if you influence the employer to say Yes to your questions there unlikely to back out, which means you will want to set up a yes set with a hidden command.


A yes set has been used in ‘sale’ pitches for years, for this to work you need to say several truisms – facts that can only be answered with a “yes.” Such as “you reading this document…” as you can’t deny that you were reading this document. After stating 2-3 truisms you can add a ‘lead’ – a lead is the thing you want the employer to say Yes to, such as “you’re looking to recruit someone with my experience?”


Hypnotherapist use this technique all the time to take clients into a trance “as you are sat on the chair (yes) breathing in and out (yes)… you are starting to feel sleepy (lead)


In a job interview you could create a yes set with “you recently won a new contract (yes) with several demanding targets to achieve (yes) which means you’re looking to recruit someone with my experience… (lead)


Don’t kill the interview by waiting to be asked a question. An interview isn’t a set of questions and answers, an interview is a conversation and throughout a conversation both parties will ask and answer questions.While you’re questioning the employer you can keep gaining commitment, building commitment on top of commitment by using the rest of the techniques in this article, designed to influence your next job interview.


Second Principle: RECIPROCATION


People feel indebted to others who do/give something to them. Supermarkets use this rule constantly; it is rare to walk throughout a supermarket without their being a free giveaway sample of cheese, meat or alcohol. This great scam works through the rule of reciprocation, as customers are more likely to buy a product because they have been given a free sample.


Do something ‘nice’ for the employer – an unselfish gesture and they will want to return the favour. Depending on your industry you could use this influential principle by offering the employer a day’s free work. For this to work you don’t need to wait for the job interview, apply for positions on spec (which is why the technique only works for certain industries)  and offer the employer £50 for you to work for them for free for a day – that’s right you pay the employer to work for them for free. With the condition that if they like your work ethic they have to offer you a job but if they feel you won’t fit in with their organization they keep the £50.


This technique works because people who will offer up a day’s free work are generally good workers and because you have offered the employer a free day’s work, the employer will feel more compelled to offer you a job position.


Wimpy quite candidates are never offered jobs. In the job interview you have to play this technique a little differently as it is hard to offer the employer a free sample of your work during the interview itself. To overcome this you can offer the employer information, knowledge and ideas. In the Influencing the Interview book we talk about adding value to the organisation by using your industry knowledge (Authority principle) to add value to what the employer is discussing.


As an example the employer may be discussing a new piece of expensive software that they will be investing in, you can give away your knowledge for free “that piece of software is really good but is very expensive to run, a new product used in the USA is being realised in the UK next month, basically it does the same job for half the price. After the interview I can e-mail you a link to the product website so you can decide for yourself.” 


What you are doing here is saving the company money before they employ you, with the interviewer thinking if you will give this gem away for free, what will I get when I employ you? And because you gave away some valuable information that will assist the company the interviewer will more compelled to do something ‘nice’ for you and offer you the job.


Third Principle: SCARCITY


We all want what we can’t have; while in a recession the employer has the upper hand, they know hundreds of people will apply for each advertised position, in other words they have the pick of the crop. The good news is, out of all the hundreds of candidates that applied for the position, only around 6 will be interviewed – this is the interviewer telling you that they are interested.


Next you need to make yourself scarce, unique or valuable. You need to think about the value you can bring to the organization, what do you possess that others don’t? How will you increase the company profits? How will employing you add value to their organization? And more importantly if they don’t employ you what will they miss out on, especially if you become the employers competition as an employee at a competitive company.


Don’t have an interview hart-attack, speak up and get your selling point across to the employer, if you don’t tell them they won’t know. Once the employer is hooked, once they see you as pure gold and as the employer is ready to offer you a job, let them know how employers from other competitive organizations have already offered you a position and the company is troubling you for an answer –  result: the interviewer will feel compelled to win you over before they miss out.


Forth Principle: AUTHORITY


People listen, trust and follow experts; who would you want to operate on you, a newly qualified doctor or an expert specializing in your operation? A no-brainier! Even on a more basic level you may be out buying some new decking for a home DIY project. While in the local DIY shop your examining two different decking products, when the shop assistant comes along and tells you about the pro’s and con’s of each product and then finally recommends product A – which product would you choose? Most of us will go with the expert’s recommendation – what they don’t know is that the shop assistant has only worked their two weeks. Authority can also be increased by a verity of external aspects including your voice tone and  the clothes you wear. If the shop assistant is dressed as DIY person, you are more likely to take their advice.


You don’t have to be an authority to persuade, as you can influence people by coming across as an expert. In the job interview you have to be seen as an expert in your industry, as this will increase your value (scarcity principle) and will give you the upper hand in the interview. Also people believe experts and won’t always question your general statements, if they believe you are an authority on the subject. You can learn to come across as an expert in your job sector in just a few days, which we discuss in the influencing the interview book.


Knowledge is the key to power; the more you learn about your industry the more you will sound like an expert. Continue to increase your knowledge by reading articles on your industries sector skills website, question people on industry forums and by working in a career you love – this way you will enjoy learning and evolving in this job role. Finally with all this expertise in your head, share it with the employer, explain how this knowledge of yours will benefit the organization, how you can increase productivity, how you will win new contracts and save on overheads – show the employer how you will put your knowledge into practice (Reciprocation principle)


Fifth Principle: LIKING


People find it hard to say no to people they like; you hear it all the time when people gain job interviews or are even offered positions because they were recommended by a friend who already works at that particular company.  This works because the new employee is associated to the friend recommending them; the employer thinks worker A is good so his friend must be good to or he wouldn’t recommend her. In reality this generalization isn’t always true, but the power behind the principle of liking can affect the employers mind.


During the job interview you can increase liking by finding common ground; you both support the same football team, you both went to the same school, you both play badminton or attend church on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter how you find common ground, just find it as this will first help the employer to remember you and will increase your rapport. It has also been proven that attractive people are offered more jobs which mean’s you need to make an effort with your appearance before every interview.


Don’t become an interview enemy. You can increase rapport, increasing the employer liking you by mirroring the employers body movements in a suitable way. To do this pace the employers posture – sit how they are sitting, as they move (as an example slightly leading forward) copy them (you slightly lean forward) and once in full rapport, you can lead your employer; as you move they will unconsciously mirror your body movements. To initially gain rapport you can influence someone by complementing them, people love to be told nice things about themselves and if you ‘like’ them, they will like you.


Sixth Principle: SOCIAL PROOF


People are sheep; most people follow others, especially when their uncertain about a course of action – to feel comfortable we will go with the crowd. In a job interview you cant get a hundred people to tell the employer to hire you because of your expertise, if you could you would easily gain more job offers as interviewers often feel uncertain with the decision of who to employee.


In a group interview you can use your expertise (Authority principle) and rapport (Liking principle) to create an aura of power around you. By highlighting your expertise to the group while increasing your liking from others, you will create an identity for yourself “s/he will definitely be offered one of the positions…” this can identity can easily spread throughout the group and to the employers “we need to interview him/her, have you heard what everyone has been saying…”


In a one to one interview you have to create social proof in a different way, to do this quote past employers throughout your interview praising yourself for past successes and I would add it is easier to praise yourself when you’re using a quote.


Employers want to be told who to employ, if you can stand out by showing your expertise, the value you can add to the organisation and top this by getting others to say “your great” through quotes or even from other interviewees, you will increase your job offers.


Authors use this same technique all the time, look on the back of any good book and you will see a testimonial, and what is a testimonial it’s social proof – others are telling you to buy this book.


The 73 rules for Influencing the Interview using Psychology, NLP and Hypnotic Persuasion Techniques.


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