Interview Psychology: How to Prepare Mentally

Preparing for a job interview in any circumstance requires a lot of foresight and forward-thinking; many carefree applicants have taken the liberty of turning up to an arranged interview without a pre-set ‘game plan’ and failed miserably when questions or tasks arise that they did not expect.

Taking the time to plan some pre-emptive measures such as research and gathering qualification certificates can make a huge difference in your performance in job interviews, and also allow you to make a positive and lasting impact on the interviewers themselves. So with this in mind, let’s look at a few tried and tested tactics that can improve your confidence, sharpen up your CV and make you stand out from the crowd.

Curriculum Vitae

Revising and sculpting your CV to suit each individual job application will help you in a number of ways; firstly, it will make your CV more appealing and specifically well-suited to each job role in question, it will make for a great conversational piece in interviews and lastly, it may help to indicate (or even provoke) which questions you can expect to hear in the interview.

When revising your CV, take into consideration the experience and qualifications you have, and select which aspects of each apply to that job role. Going into more detail about certain aspects of past job roles may not seem like a big deal to you, but it will highlight the key features of your experience that prospective employers are looking for.

For example, if an applicant has experience in retail or hospitality and is looking to apply for jobs in administration then they would certainly have to highlight the key areas of their previous experience to show they are an ideal candidate for the job. If the candidate were to detail the intricacies of their organizational skills, customer service expertise, telephone manner, and competency with computers then they would stand out as a more suitable candidate than they would have previously. The key to reworking a CV is to pick out key aspects of your previous experience and qualifications and detail them comprehensively to show how well-suited to each job role you are.

The Interview

A great way of being psychologically prepared for a job interview is to feel confident in your ability to answer the questions that are likely ahead of you; this may seem a little obvious, but many people go about it the wrong way. Avoid rehearsing questions that you expect to come up with; instead, research the company, who they are, and what they do; this will give you a good indication of what you will need to know and allow you to come up with a few questions of your own.

If you have sourced job applications from online vacancies or online recruitment companies then going that extra mile to find out as much as possible about your prospective employers is a must; a simple digital advert will give only a brief description of the job role and you must look into the company and its products/services to discover exactly what your job role would be.

There are certain things all prospective employers are looking for in interviews, some more obvious than others. It goes without saying that interviewers are certainly looking for the most competent candidate possible, but an enthusiastic candidate who is willing to give 110% to the company is much more alluring than an equally qualified candidate with no enthusiasm or ‘drive’. Coming across as an enthusiastic and eager candidate is easier than you may think; by asking the right questions and adopting the right attitude, it’s fairly simple to come across as a bright and likable person.

Often interviewers like to ask: “Where do you see yourself in ‘X’ years’ time?” and many candidates would commonly answer with an overconfident and unrealistic answer such as “I’d like to be a manager” or “I’d like to be head of my department”.

Interviewers love modesty alongside competence and answering questions with modest answers which show you are still hardworking and ambitious, yet do not overestimate your abilities is a much more attractive quality. An answer along the lines of “I believe that if I continue to develop my skills and learn as much as possible from my peers then those opportunities will present themselves in time” is much more effective. Obviously, it’s wise to put your own personality and spin on this template attitude but finding the happy medium between modesty and ambitiousness is an attractive quality indeed.

Upon the interview, you will likely have an opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the company or the job role; this is a fantastic chance to show that you have done your homework and researched the company. Mention certain products or services the company provides and ask for finer details surrounding them, and certainly ask if there are any steps you can take to better prepare for the job role just in case they decide to give you a call.


So there you are, some key tips to help you better prepare for job interviews and applications. Remember, do your homework and act with modesty, and your competence and likability will shine through!

Related: The Psychology of Networking: How Some Appear Natural While Others Stutter.

This post was written by Danny Travis-Brown on behalf of Blue Octopus online recruitment. His job interview technique involves donning a waistcoat to stand out from the crowd and wow his interviewers.

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