Interviews are intense for an interviewee. But for a magical, crafty interviewer, that’s a good thing. Because, according to Business Insider, with just pinch of awkward and a dash of mental trickery, you can get a little extra from a candidate [MWA-HA-HA-HAAA].

So how do you create such a useful potion? With mind games like these:

The awkward moment


Just long enough for it to feel weird. The discomfort will motivate most candidates to fill the space with make-this-awkwardness-go-away information.

The truth in the details

Want to know exactly what happens at a candidate’s current job? Ask for their boss’s name. And get them to spell it. Nothing gets honesty from a candidate like thinking you’re going to check up on them.

The unfinished sentence

Ask a candidate about a time they faced a difficult situation, but don’t specify that they should tell you how they overcame it. Their interpretation will reveal if they’re a problem solver (they tell you how they solved the problem) or a problem bringer (they just tell you about the problem).

Speak performance to me

There’s psychology in the way a person speaks. So, while this one isn’t a mind game per se, it gets into your candidate’s head. For instance, high performers usually:

  • Speak in the first person. They say I, we, and our. Poor performers use more yous, yours, theirs and its.
  • Give straight answers. They don’t fluff anything up with excessive adverbs. Their work speaks for itself.
  • Speak in past tense. They tell you about a difficult situation they dealt with rather than the difficult situations they deal with.
  • Use an active voice. In other words, they’d say ‘I do this job’, rather than, ‘This job is done by me.’
  • Don’t use absolutes. They wouldn’t often use words like always or never.

Got a little hocus pocus in you? It could get some magical results from your interviews.