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NBC Insider The Irrational

Psychological Tricks to Help You Ace Your Next Job Interview — Like the Ones in Jesse L. Martin's New Show

Psychological tools that help solve cases on the NBC drama The Irrational starring Jesse L. Martin can come in handy for job interviews.

By Joe Dziemianowicz

In the new NBC drama The Irrational, Jesse L. Martin plays a behavioral psychologist who uses tools of his trade to solve cases. In real life, psychological preparation can help you ace your next job interview.  

How to Watch

Watch The Irrational Mondays at 10/9c on NBC and next day on Peacock

“A job interview is like a first date. In each case you want to put your best foot forward,” said Amy Cooper Hakim, Ph.D., an industrial organizational psychologist and workplace expert who co-wrote the book Working with Difficult People.

“They both involve impression management,” Cooper added.  “We are working to control the way that we are perceived by that other person. It’s sort of an art.

Common Psychological Tricks for Job Interviews

Tap Body Language

“When we have confidence in ourselves and we are sure of our message, we hold ourselves in a certain way,” Cooper told NBC Insider. “Our bodies are upright, our posture is straighter. Our eyes meet the eyes of the other person, we may smile.” All that beams competence, communicates interest, and helps forge a deeper connection.

RELATED: What Jesse L. Martin’s Costars Say About Working With Him

Listen Up

It’s important to show the recruiter that you’re listening to every word they say and not interrupting. “We have two ears and one mouth for a reason,” said Cooper. Using your ears to focus fully extends beyond basic courtesy. It will give you an advantage when you’re asked to reply to a question during the interview.

A woman interviewing a man for a job

Use Flattery

People always like it when others recognize them for who they are and what they do, and flattery is a useful trick to sway a recruiter in your favor. But you don’t want to appear to be blowing smoke, said Cooper. “You have to be sincere. If you are honestly excited to work potentially for that company or if you are particularly thrilled with what you saw the CEO of that company say on the news, then say so. That indicates that you're engaged, active and thoughtful.”

Dress the Part

Clothes make statements. For an interview you want to dress in a way that commands attention “without standing out too much,” said Cooper. “The color of your outfit, and the fabric show that you are coming in expecting a particular amount of respect.”

Mirror the Recruiter

“If the hiring manager is leaning forward, you lean forward. If you’re sitting at a desk around the table and a hiring manager puts his or her elbows on the table, then you do that too,” said Cooper. It’s called mirroring, and being a copycat subtly can deepen the connection between you and the employer, and that’s the goal.

Stay Authentic

“When you come into an interview, you’re going to have your game face on, and that’s okay,” said Cooper. “When you go and you meet your prospective employer for the first time you want to come across in a polished manner. Sometimes what happens is that we end up putting on some type of a false bravado. Stay as grounded as possible and be as authentic as possible.”

Watch The Irrational, premiering September 25 at 10/9c on NBC and streaming the next day on Peacock.