Sitting in front of an interviewer is probably one of the most daunting situations we can encounter. We usually put a lot of research into how best to answer questions, to put our best experiences and capabilities forward and make as good an impression as possible.
But what exactly do interviewers look for in a potential candidate? What qualities do they really look for when sizing us up for the position?
If you know what these are, you can make sure you tick all their boxes during the interview and leave knowing you’re definitely in the running for the job.
The Most Common Questions on an Interviewer’s Mind
So you’re in the interview and answering all the questions as thoroughly and informatively as you can. But what untold questions are going on in the interviewer’s mind? What are they looking for behind your answers? Here is a list of 8 common thoughts an interviewer has when meeting a potential employee.
1. Do You Actually Answer the Questions I Ask?
It’s always recommended to prep on common interview questions and rehearsing how you would answer them, but the danger with this is you can regurgitate an answer you’ve thought about, trying to make it fit the question. In the process you may not really be giving an answer they are looking for.
The key is to be in the moment when listening to the questions they ask and try to respond naturally and in a conversational tone if possible. Overly-prepared answers can come across as parrot-like and detached so try to connect with the interviewer as much as you can.
2. Do You Have Reasonable Expectations?
All employers want happy employees to create a positive work dynamic so this is why many interviewers will look for signs of how your expectations match up to the job role. If you come across as expecting to progress much more quickly than is viable, they may question whether the role will really suit you.
Entering the interview with as much knowledge of the job role as possible is key to whether you feel you’re a good match for this job and if you’ll be truly happy in it. Be honest with yourself if you feel the job may not rise to your expectations.
3. Are You a Problem Solver?
This is a fine line. While they are looking for examples of how you’ve solved problems in your previous job roles, being over-confident and explaining how you will apply these skills to change the company is a no-no. Remember you’re still only in the interview process and, while you may think it’s showing yourself in a good light, the interviewer may find this a case of trying too hard.
4. Do You Know Who You Are and What You Really Want?
Having a good, flowing interaction in your interview is the ideal scenario. This shows you’re confident in who you are and what you’re wanting from the experience and the role. But usually in our nervousness and over-preparation, our answers can come across as disjointed and this can be seen as a reflection of ourselves.
Don’t try to be someone you’re not. This will be more obvious to the interviewer than you think. Relax and spend some time thinking about how your experiences, qualities and what you can bring to the role reflects your personality.
5. Are You High Maintenance?
Asking too many questions pre-interview or having complaints or concerns may seem to you like you’re taking initiative or showing off your confidence and strong personality, but this can come across as being too high maintenance. No employer wants to feel like they’d be dealing with a potential difficult employee and this may make you lose the chance of the job.
It may seem pedantic but it’s these subtle clues that people can pick up on especially in an interview situation.
6. Are You Showing Me Your Real Self?
Are you telling me the truth or what you want me to hear? This has crossed the minds of many interviewers. Again, over-prepared answers can be easily detected as they are heard over and over again and can come across as being disingenuous. This causes the interviewer to question whether you’re just going through the motions to get the job and whether you really want it.
While you may genuinely be interested in the job, don’t fall into this trap. Spend time thinking of ways to answer the questions to paint a picture of your personal fit for the job rather than bog-standard responses.
7. Would I Like to Work With You on a Daily Basis?
You might be a perfect fit for the job but often the interviewer is looking from a human level to whether you will bring a positive influence to the workplace. Often they will see if you’re a trustworthy person with good work ethics – basically someone they can rely on and not have to constantly monitor and deal with in a negative way.
This is usually picked up through the many different answers you give so make sure you structure your responses in a way that reflects this.
8. What Is Your Body Language Conveying to Me?
When it comes to body language it’s fairly straight forward – don’t slouch, smile, make good eye-contact and don’t fidget too much. However, when we’re in a nervous state we can forget how we’re coming across.
People will always subconsciously pick up on body language both positive and negative. Don’t worry to much about coming across as nervous – most interviewers will expect this to some degree but be aware of your posture and make sure you try to be as natural as possible especially when it comes to smiling. Once you are in this mindset, you are more likely to relax and have a more flowing interview.
When it comes to interviews, the key is to be as natural as possible. Let your personality shine through in a positive way and remember – interviewers are human too – so creating a good-flowing interaction where you try and connect with the other person on a positive level will help go towards bagging that job.