There are thought to be several power words in hypnosis that are supposed to be able to tap into the unconscious mind and enable you to unknowingly pull the strings of the people you are engaging. Of course, we are not talking zombie-like trances here, but more subconscious persuasion and mild influence. Typically, these power words are used in sales and marketing to help convince a buyer/client, but I thought I’d identify three of the top power words and see how they could be applied to the interview process.
Imagine is an extremely hypnotic and persuasive word if deployed correctly during the interview. Why? According to the author Bnonn, if you ask your interviewer to imagine something, you “bypass the critical part of the brain that objects to things and you sneak into their mind through the back door of their imagination,” a crucial stage in hypnosis. The interviewer is more likely to take this word as an instruction and will visualize your future together, which is a big step toward making it happen. You might, therefore, incorporate the following phrases into your interview:
Imagine the success we can achieve when we combine my unique inside knowledge of the emerging markets with your massive distribution potential.
Now you have seen how I operate, you can imagine how well I would work with you and your team…
When (rather than if). This is what is known as a presupposition language pattern and it is about presupposing the outcome you want, e.g. when I am hired, I will do this and that. Now, starting a sentence with, “when you hire me,” is risky and could make you appear presumptuous; so, I think you should say it with a knowing smile and a touch of tongue in cheek (because it is a little cheeky). I do think this power word should come with a health warning and should be used very judiciously. If you just can’t imagine yourself saying ‘”when,” why not try a less pointed presupposition statement, such as “The first positive change I would make after being hired is…” or “imagine you hired me and knowing what you know about my skills would you deploy me in Asia Pacific?
Because. This is a powerful and persuasive word and its persuasive effect is illustrated in the Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion where he asks people to try and push in line in the queue for the photocopy machine. The ones who asked to push in and gave a reason, (even a weak reason), which incidentally started with the word because, were allowed to push in many more times than those who didn’t use it. So, at the end of the interview, I’d strongly recommend that you say that you want the job and tell them why using this format of speech for the most powerful persuasive effect, “I really want this job, because…”
Now, it doesn’t take a psychologist to tell that this is not really hypnosis, but I do believe that using positive, suggestive speak can be beneficial in the interview process.