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Using psychology to boost your probation interview

By Liam Dale

​Preparing for a job interview can be one of life’s stressful moments. With the anticipation of what you’ll be asked, worrying about how you’ll highlight your strengths and considering how you’re coming across to the panel, there’s a lot to think about!

We want to do what we can to help our candidates succeed, so this week, we’re finding out how we can make a few minor adjustments to give ourselves a psychological boost!

Making the most of that first impression

In an interview scenario, you may be so focused on whether you’re saying the right things, that you neglect to consider how your first impression may come across. You want to show that you are capable, confident and willing to be part of a team. Whilst first impressions are important, some studies have suggested that a hiring manager will make their decision within the first few minutes... Luckily there are some subtle things that you can do to ensure that you come across well in the first few moments. 

  • Act natural – the interviewer/s are normal people, just like yourself, so engage in a natural conversation

  • Maintain eye contact – this is a key thing as it will help you appear more confident

  • Strong handshake

  • A nice smile – this portrays friendliness and will certainly give them a positive impression

Mirror the hiring manager’s body language

A quick and easy trick is to reflect the image of the interviewer by mirroring their body language. It’s important to be subtle (no one wants to see you doing an imitation) but if they are sat upright, then consider your posture. If they are using a lot of arm movements to gesticulate, then feel free to follow – just make sure there are no glasses of water nearby!

Say their name

It's widely regarded that using someone’s name is a good way to show your interest in what they are saying. It not only shows that you’re paying attention to what they are saying but it will make them feel much more positive towards yourself. It creates positive associations... But if you are being interviewed by a panel, make sure that you get each person’s name right otherwise you could find yourself in an embarrassing situation!

We have written a series of blogs around starting and navigating your probation career. There are also a number of useful resources on our careers hub.