The Emerald Resource Group Blog

News, advice, and insights for job seekers and employers.


Psychology & Interviewing – Your 1 Minute Preparation Guide

It is very important to understand 2 very basic psychological principles when you are getting ready for an interview.  99% of people will not take the time to remind themselves of these psychological truths and will deliver a less than exemplary performance as a result.  You already know both of them:

  1. People Want to be Wanted
  2. People Want What They Cannot Have

How does this translate to a job interview?  Your interviewer wants you to want to work for his/her organization; however your interviewer will desire you more if they question your availability.

It is familiar knowledge that the #1 turn-off for an interviewer is lack of knowledge of their company, so the former principle above should come as no surprise.  Do your due diligence and research the company that you are interviewing with, and do everything you can to demonstrate the knowledge that you’ve acquired.

The second principle is the one that interviewees will often times overlook; they focus exclusively on principle one and in doing so lose a distinct advantage.  Principle 2 can contradict principle 1, so it is indeed a balancing act.  “Neutral” is probably the best word to repeat to yourself in the car before you walk through the doors.  Be excited and interested in the company and work, but remain undecided about your interest in moving forward in the interview process.  Your having other options can be attractive to your interviewer (assuming you aren’t being arrogant about it), and the way to demonstrate those options is through uncertainty.  You might be asked why you are uncertain and the answer is very simple: you have a lot to think about.

Interviewing is a complex process, and if you are the best candidate for a job then you should get the offer; not the person that interviews better than you do.  Implementing this process is ~2% of the interview preparation that you might consider doing.  Do you have a big interview coming up?  I would be happy to share the rest.


Ryan M. Pinney is an IT Recruiter and Career Consultant specializing in the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill areas of North Carolina.  @_RyanPinney