At the end of last year, it was estimated that 64% of employees would leave their current jobs in 2020 and seek new positions elsewhere, based on data from Achievers’ Engagement and Retention Report. But now as the nation lurches into economic flux due to COVID-19, and many companies are forced to close their doors or lay-off workers, that percentage will likely increase in the months ahead. This applicant influx and unstable business forecast make for an interesting time to job search, but do not be deterred. 

You can stand out from the competition and market yourself as the candidate to hire with a few simple and actionable strategies borrowed from the poker table. In fact, a research study in 2016 found that success in poker is the result of extracting, processing and concealing information in competitive, uncertain and high-stakes environments. This is not so different from the interview process, so below are tactics poker players use to hone their game which can be just as effective to help you land a new job.  

Learn How To Listen And Absorb Valuable Information.

During an interview, you are evaluated by the potential employer, but you need to perform your own evaluation too. Do the company mission and culture align with your values? Does the employer seem like an authentic, respectful, trustworthy and capable leader? Does the team feel like a group you can collaborate with effectively? These are questions to ask yourself while seated across from the interviewer, and understanding “poker tells” can help you obtain this information. 

Someone’s behavior can alert you to the subtext beneath what they are—or are not—communicating. Non-verbal cues such as whether they maintain eye contact, if their voice is clear or tight, and if their mannerisms are erratic or consistent enable you to read a person’s character, so be a keen listener and observer. This “allows you to make better decisions and increase the odds of getting the best possible outcome in each situation,” notes the Global Poker School

Gain And Project Confidence In Your Work Experience.

Each application you submit and interview you attend is a chance to pitch the skills and qualifications that make you the ideal person for a job. This requires visible confidence in your own abilities because, if an employer senses that you do not believe in the product you are selling, it can end the interview. Self-confidence is not everyone’s natural response, but when you need to make a strong first impression, it’s the clincher that affirms, “I belong in this interview, and I can handle this job.”  

Poker teaches you confidence because when the odds are stacked, you need self-assurance to face the doubts or risks, and then forge ahead. “I’ve learned to flip the script and turn my self-doubt into positivity [and] brute rationality,” adds poker champion Vanessa Selbst “This decision of brute rationality—outfoxing and ‘outlogicking’ my anxious and unreasoning mind—has saved my life and my career. Because I’m making a conscious effort for positivity, I feel better in all areas, poker and otherwise. I focus on what I achieved, rather than where I failed.” 

Lay All The Cards On The Table Without Fear Or Apology.

This expression commonly used in poker means to show your entire hand, so an opponent knows that you’re not bluffing. This idea applies to other areas of life too when you are honest and transparent with your intentions. While it can be uncomfortable to practice that level of candor, it also forms trust with the people you encounter—and trust is a quality that employers want in their team members. It communicates that you will perform the job with integrity and authenticity.

Suzy Welch, the former editor-in-chief of Harvard Business Review, confirms that if you are open in the interview, you will stand out as a candidate. She even recommends articulating, “I really want this job,” before the interview ends. “Too blunt for you? Too desperate? Do you think it will sound awkward? All legitimate concerns, [but] coming right out and saying ‘I really want this job’ shows a refreshing level of sincerity. This is an important character trait that’s difficult to truly gauge in job interviews when everyone is on their best behavior,” Welch concludes.    

Richard is an experienced tech journalist and blogger who is passionate about new and emerging technologies. He provides insightful and engaging content for Connection Cafe and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments.