Interview Magic - Sleight of Mouth

By Chris Delaney

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During the interview, each job hunter has to grasp the limited time allocated to them and use a varied mixture of stories, examples, rapport building techniques, and detailed interview answers as well creating intrigue, highlighting your expert knowledge and showcasing your unique selling point to secure that all important job offer. 

 

The Psychology of Humans

 

This is relatively simple. The problem arises from the undeniable fact that humans are hardwired to make instant opinions about each other. Within 3-6 seconds of meeting you, the interviewer will have formed a belief about you - If this belief is negative you will find it hard to win over the interviewer.

 

Prejudices are Perceived Badly 

 

Beliefs are formed often through past experiences and through the unconscious process of finding evidence to back up this limiting belief. For the interviewee to break this prejudice you need to challenge the interviewer’s belief system, helping them to break their stereotypical view.

 

Taking the Indirect Route

 

The direct approach in the interview situation is far from appropriate, as people are prone to get defensive when challenge which may create resentment between you and your potential boss – not a  good start. The indirect approach is a tool that can be used throughout the interview creating conversational changes, allowing the interviewer to revaluate their own opinions and views without really knowing that they are changing.

 

Changing Negative Interview Beliefs

 

A technique to enhance this comes from NLP’s 14 ‘slight of mouth patterns’ These 14 patterns can be used throughout the interview, embedded secretly into your interview answers to provoke a change of opinion, allowing the interviewer to see you in the best possible light.

Beliefs can come in the form of a Complex equivalence (A “means” B) “Everyone who works at company X is lazy” or a Cause-effect (A “causes” B) “If you’re under 40 you don’t have the required knowledge or experience needed for this high end position”

By using the 14 slight of mouth patterns throughout the interview, you can breakdown the interviewers negative opinion of you whilst building a positive belief system “this interviewee has won ME over, he must be good”

 

Sleight of Mouth Pattern (SOMP)

 

In the forthcoming examples I will first explain the SOMP pattern, then record the employer’s negative belief, before offering an example of how to word part of your interview answer to challenge the interviewer, creating conversational change that will improve your chances of securing a job offer. 

Redefine; change the representation of the belief. You want the employer to look at the situation from a different point of view to find a new meaning.

Employer “Everyone who works at company X is lazy” (complex equivalence)

Example SOMP Question or Statement: so what you mean is, that because I want to leave company X I’m a hard worker?

 

 

Consequence; make them think about the consequences of their beliefs. What will happen to them if they continue to think this way?

“ If you’re under 40 you don’t have the required knowledge or experience needed for this high end position” (cause and effect)

Example SOMP Question or Statement: if you believe that you need to be over 40 to be a value to the company, you may miss out on some up and coming top rated employees who could help you meet your targets

 

 

Intention; what is the interviewer’s positive intention? By understanding why the employer is saying this, you can start to understand what they want to gain from this belief. You can counter this belief by offering them what they want.

“ If you’re under 40 you don’t have the required knowledge or experience needed for this high end position” (cause and effect)

Example SOMP Question or Statement: I agree, sometimes older employees are more experienced, but I have been specialising in this area all my whole life and I am the only one who knows how to implement X

 

 

Chunk Down; get to the specific elements. Many beliefs are generalisations; get the interviewer to think in terms of specifics. 

“ If you’re under 40 you don’t have the required knowledge or experience needed for this high end position” (cause and effect)

Example SOMP Question or Statement:  what do you need to hear that will convince you I have the knowledge you require?

 

Chunk Up; use generalisations to break away from the specifics. Change the belief by moving their focus onto a different generalisation or exaggeration of the truth.

 “Everyone who works at company X is lazy” (complex equivalence)

Example SOMP Question or Statement: its not that the workers are lazy they’re just managed badly

 

 

Counter Example; use exceptions that challenge generalization. By giving an example that the interviewer can relate to, this will become part of the evidence used to build up a new belief.

“Everyone who works at company X is lazy” (complex equivalence)

Example SOMP Question or Statement: we have all met people who surprise us

 

 

Another Outcome; propose a different outcome. What other outcome could shift the interviewers focus to that which will help create a change in their judgment?

“Everyone who works at company X is lazy” (complex equivalence)

Example SOMP Question or Statement: if you invested in me as a person as I am a worker with strong work ethics, you would see a positive monetary return

 

 

Metaphor/Analogy; Use an analogy or metaphor that challenges the generalization defined by the belief. Do you have an intriguing story that will change the interviewer focus?

“ If you’re under 40 you don’t have the required knowledge or experience needed for this high end position” (cause and effect)

Example SOMP Question or Statement: my current manager said she originally took a chance employing me as I was new to the sector, but she said she had seen something in me and now I am rated by her and the whole company as her number one performing employee.

 

 

Apply to Self; use key aspects of the belief to change the belief. Think about why you agree to their statement and reframe their opinion.

“Everyone who works at company X is lazy” (complex equivalence)

Example SOMP Question or Statement: I agree everyone who works at company X is lazy, that’s why I am so keen to get out of there.

 

 

Hierarchy of Criteria (Values) Re-assess the belief based on a more important criterion. Once you are able to uncover the interviewer’s essential criteria, you can use this knowledge to counter their argument.

“ If you’re under 40 you don’t have the required knowledge or experience needed for this high end position” (cause and effect)

Example SOMP Question or Statement: isn’t it more important to think about what value I can add to the organisation than how old I am?

 

 

Change Frame Size; Re-evaluate the implication of the belief in the context of a longer (or shorter) time frame, a larger or shorter number of people (or from an individual point of view) or a bigger or smaller perspective. You need to ask yourself is there something the interviewer hasn’t noticed about me?

“ If you’re under 40 you don’t have the required knowledge or experience needed for this high end position” (cause and effect)

Example SOMP Question or Statement: if you employ a younger member of staff, the older employees will want to work harder to seem just as enthusiastic as I am.

 

 

Meta Frame; change the basis of the belief. Counter the argument of their belief.

“ If you’re under 40 you don’t have the required knowledge or experience needed for this high end position”  (cause and effect)

Example SOMP Question or Statement: you can’t employee someone on their age alone, but you can employ someone on their knowledge and skill base, especially when I have evidence to back this up

 

 

Model of the World; get the interviewer to look at the belief from a different perspective. When people see situations from different view points their opinion can often change.

“ If you’re under 40 you don’t have the required knowledge or experience needed for this high end position”  (cause and effect)

Example SOMP Question or Statement: if you were interviewing the you at my age, would you employ yourself?

 

 

Reality Strategy; Re-assess the belief based on the fact that beliefs are based on specific perceptions. Understand how the interviewer’s representation of the belief and what they need to know or hear to change their opinions.

“Everyone who works at company X is lazy” (complex equivalence)

Example SOMP Question or Statement: how do you know that all people from company X are lazy and not just the few you have met?

 

 

Each of the 14 patterns essentially reframe the employer’s perspective and questions their belief and stereotypical view. You may have come across this process before when a colleague replies “I’ve not considered that view before”

 

In some interview situations just one simple SOMP reply will be enough to alter their general thought process, in other circumstances you may be required to use a mixture of SOMP answers throughout the interview at the appropriate time. Remember the key is not to openly challenge the interviewer, rather you delicately allow the employer to question themselves, through the simple use of questions and statements that create a different perspective of the situation.

 

Christopher Delaney is an Advanced Interview Coach  at Employment King and the author of The 73 Rules for Influencing the Interview using Psychology, NLP and Hypnotic Persuasion Techniques 

 

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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