What an interviewer is secretly thinking about you
Interviews are tough enough but if you're faced with a hiring manager who's hard to read, the experience can be even more daunting. Here are six things an interviewer is likely to be thinking about you - and how to use the information to your advantage.1. Do you actually want to work here?
It might sound obvious – you turned up for the interview after all – but a hiring manager is looking for signs that you are keen to carry out the potential role.
Anna Budner, Talent Acquisition Specialist at NonStop Recruitment, says: 'When we interview for candidates to work for us we are always looking to identify the same factors - namely that the person is motivated to work here. Not just interested in gaining interview experience, testing the market, or hoping for a stop-gap position.'
The lesson: Make sure your enthusiasm comes across. Sit up straight, lean forward slightly when you answer a question and remember to smile. Nod your head to show that you're listening and ask questions about the job to show that you're keen to take on the role.
Skills and experience matter, but your personality and attitude can be the thing that clinches the job. Interviewers are constantly reading between the lines of what you say and judging how you present yourself to decide whether your face will fit at the company.
'Some people sound good on the phone but it's only when you're face-to-face with them that you get a clearer idea of what they're really like, whether they might do or say anything inappropriate and how well they would fit with the rest of the company,' explains Anna.
The lesson: Dress in a similar way to others at the company. If you've seen a photo of the interviewer wearing a twin-set and pearls or sober tie, that edgy outfit might not be a good idea. Read the company's website and get a feel for their culture and the language they use – are they results driven or focused on a particular set of values, for instance?3. Are you all hot air?
Interviewers become suspicious of candidates who make strong claims that don't seem credible or that aren't backed up by evidence.
The lesson: Evidence is key when it comes to selling your experience in an interview. 'A strong interviewer will keep pushing you for more detailed examples: what exactly did you do? How did you do it? What happened? What did you learn? Less proficient interviewers won't do this, so you will have to make sure evidence is supplied anyway,' says John.4. Are you lying about your last job
The interviewer is likely to have a copy of your CV with them. If there are any red flags, they want you to put their mind at ease.
'If you've only been in your last role for five months, a hiring manager will want to know why,' says John. 'Your job is to ensure that they have no doubts about hiring you by the time you leave the interview room.'
The lesson: 'Focus on positive reasons for job change and avoid criticism, implied or explicit, about your current organisation,' says John. 'Don't complain about your employer or demonstrate disloyalty – interviewers assume that's how you will behave in the future.'
5. Are you saying what I want to hear?
Experienced interviewers have heard it all before. They want to get to know the real you – not feel that you've swallowed a book on how to answer interview questions.
'Say that your weakness is being a perfectionist or that you work too hard, and an interviewer is going to want to scream,' warns Corinne Mills of careers consultancy Personal Career Management and author of Career Coach.
The lesson: You want to be a heightened version of yourself – you on a good day – not a robotic machine that spews out correct answers. Candidates who are genuine, warm, and share some of their personality are the ones that are remembered.6. Will you actually take the job?
Finally, you're not the only one worried about potential rejection. Before a hiring manager offers you the job, they want to feel that you will actually take it.
Anna says: 'We try to identify whether the person is actually committed to the role they're interviewing for, and whether they would be likely to take the position if we offered it.'
She adds: 'A good way of telling whether this is the case, is if the person has gone the extra mile to find out about the organisation and the people that work there.'
The lesson: Research the company and demonstrate your knowledge. One way to do this is by asking questions. For example, "I know that you've recently taken on a major new client / have plans to launch a new product – I have X relevant experience and skills and would like to know if there are opportunities for me to contribute to the project's success."