What employers are really thinking during job interviews

Image source:  Ambro@ freedigitalphotos.net

Image source:
Ambro@ freedigitalphotos.net

Everybody is different and therefore every job interview you go to will vary in some way. Some companies like to keep it informal whereas others really like to dig deep and will therefore throw out some of the toughest questions they can think of.

When it comes to finding the right candidate however, the vast majority of employers are thinking the exact same things. Here are a few pointers that interviewers would love to give candidates about how they can out-perform their competition when meeting a potential employer for the first time.

“I really want you to stand out”

A sad truth about interviewing is that employers frequently can’t remember a great deal about the people they have seen unless they refer to their notes. When companies are seeing a number of candidates spread out over a period of time, it means that they only way people are going to be remembered is if they create an impression.

Reeling off a long list of facts about your skills and experience may sound good but in reality this doesn’t differentiate you from anyone else the interviewer has seen. Try to find a ‘hook’ that will make you memorable. This could be an interest you have, an unusual fact about your upbringing or even better, a work project you managed to carry out in half the time expected or a huge sale you made.

“I don’t want to hear anything negative”

Although there is no way an interviewer will remember everything you say, they will most definitely remember any negative comments you make. One of the biggest no-nos in a job interview is complaining about your current or previous employers, coworkers or customers.

If you do have an issue in your current role that you’re keen to leave behind, think very carefully how to phrase it in a positive way. If for example you are being micro-managed and hate this, comment that you are good at using your initiative and are eager to take on more responsibility and authority. This is not only incredibly appealing to a potential employer, it also makes it perfectly clear that you are not an employee who wants to be babysat.

“Don’t start the interview by telling me how much you want the job”

A job interview is just as much for the candidate as it is for the employer and just like they can’t possibly know if they will like you or not before meeting you, how can you know this is the right job for you before the interview has properly started?

Of course the interviewer wants to know that your keen but not before you really understand what the job entails. Holding fire until the end not only seems more genuine and allows you to ask all the right questions, it also prevents you saying something you will later regret because for all you know they want you to work 60-hour weeks.

“I want you to show me who you are”

We all get nervous during job interviews and want to create a good impression so we’re unlikely to completely be ourselves. Although hearing about your skills and experience is important, so is getting the right cultural fit.

Remember to smile, make eye contact and be enthusiastic. Most of all however, be yourself. We all want to like our work colleagues and no matter how impressive your qualifications are, if an interviewer doesn’t warm to you they will not offer you the job. If you don’t necessarily have the right skills but the employer can sense a connection however, they will happily provide extra training to get you up to speed.

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