4 Persuasion Techniques to Use in Your Next Interview
Persuading people—whether it’s an interviewer to give you a dream job or a higher up to give you a raise—is a talent that comes naturally to some people. Unfortunately, not everyone is born with that specific swagger. That doesn’t mean you can’t brush up on some techniques that help people see your point of view. Try these tips during your next job interview to nudge the interviewer in the right direction.
1. Establish a relationship
Admittedly, it can be hard to form a relationship with someone in the brief window of time set aside for a job interview—not to mention the intense stress of the situation itself. But try and take a moment to tune into the vibe of the interviewer and take her lead. For example, is she cheerful and bubbly? Match that upbeat vibe. Is she more withdrawn and serious? Reign in that energy. Keep in mind that many interviewers already know you’re qualified for the job (you wouldn’t be in the interview if you weren’t). So this is a time to showcase how well you would get along with the general office culture and attempt a relaxed, friendly one-on-one with your potential new colleague.
2. Employ persuasive language
What is “persuasive language?” It can include a variety of techniques, but there are some that will be more helpful during interviews than others. Using action verbs (“I exceeded project goals by…”) over passive ones (“My project goals were exceeded by…”) helps engage listeners, while keeping sentences relatively short and free of clichés makes it easier for them to follow your train of thought. Using inclusive language, in which you speak as if you and the interviewer are on the same side of an issue, can also help them feel you two are already a team. If you can casually bring in positive outside opinions of you, do so. Phrases such as “My previous boss always knew me as the person who…” will resonate, since people often have a tendency to accept other people’s opinions as fact.
3. Avoid hesitant language
A job interview is the perfect scenario in which it pulls out all the confidence stops (and if you don’t feel particularly confident, the old adage “fake it till you make it” can come in quite handy). That means not including “I think,” “I feel like,” “I’m pretty sure,” or other similar phrases. Also keep in mind your general tone of voice—some people tend to end their sentences on an “up” note when they’re nervous, as if everything you say is a question. This undermines what you’re saying, even if you’re sure of yourself. After all, if you don’t feel confident about your abilities, the interviewer won’t either.
4. Don’t get pushy
While it may seem like persuasive people always get what they want, they don’t do it by pushing too hard. Yes, you have to sell yourself and your abilities in order to land the job, but moving beyond that persuasiveness into pushiness is a definite red flag. Forcing an issue, whether you do so by talking over the interviewer or arguing at length with a point they’re making, doesn’t make you seem confident—it makes you seem argumentative and egotistical. This can cause interviewers to immediately start moving to end the conversation in order to get you out the door, which is the last thing you want.
When it comes to persuasion, what you don’t say is sometimes just as important as what you do. Keep that in mind when you’re tempted to over explain a point or even when sitting there, listening to the person in charge. Confident body language, paired with the tips mentioned above, can go quite a long way in persuading your interviewer that you are, in fact, the exact right person for the job.