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8 Things Interviewers Look for During an Interview But They Didn’t Tell You

8 Things Interviewers Look for During an Interview But They Didn’t Tell You

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on June 27, 2019

How to Use Observational Learning for Your Best Improvement

How to Use Observational Learning for Your Best Improvement

Someone walks over, introduces themselves and raises their hand out in front of you. How do you know what you’re supposed to do next?

If this were the first time you saw this behavior, you wouldn’t have a clue.

If you were from an Eastern culture, you might go to bow toward this person. But you know what to do because since childhood, you’ve observed many adults shaking hands.

Observational learning is a learning theory in psychology that describes how we learn by watching and imitating others.

In this article, we will look into what observational learning really is and how it helps you learn and grow.

What Is Observational Learning?

Children learn many of their behaviors and expressions through observation. We pick up things as fundamental as walking, playing, gestures, facial expressions, and body postures via observational learning.

In the 1970s, psychologist Albert Bandura outlined a four-stage process of how observational learning occurs:[1]

  1. Attention: Notice something in the environment.
  2. Retention: Recall what was noticed (memory).
  3. Reproduction: Copy or mimic what you noticed.
  4. Motivation: Get reinforcement from the environment for completing the behavior (or punishment for not).

Pretty simple, right?

Neuroscience provides further evidence. Mirror neurons fire when one animal acts and another animal observes as if the neurons in one brain are mirroring the patterns of another brain.

The result?

You make a funny face at a baby. And the baby makes the same funny right back at you.

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What Influences Observational Learning

Observational learning doesn’t always occur, so it’s essential to understanding the conditions in place when it does.

So when are we more like to imitate others? It happens when:

  • You doubt yourself and your abilities.
  • You are confused or in an unfamiliar environment.
  • You’re in a position of authority, like a boss, leader, or celebrity.
  • Someone is similar to you in some way: interest, age, or social class.
  • You see someone getting rewards for their behavior.

For example, let’s say four people go out to an upscale restaurant. One person frequents this type of restaurant while it’s the first time for the other three individuals.

The person who is comfortable in this environment knows what to do: when and where to place the napkin, how the place setting works, and how to communicate with the wait staff. Because he knows what to do, in this situation, he’s the authority.

The rest of his company are in an unfamiliar environment. And when we don’t know how to behave, we tend to look around and observe the behavior of others.

Somehow, we know who to observe by picking up subtle cues. So without having to think about it, the rest of the party subconsciously looks around and begin to discern who the “expert” is and what he’s doing. And this sort of process frequently happens throughout our development and the rest of our lives.

Performing Your Best with Observational Learning

Observational learning usually occurs subconsciously in social situations. That is, our basic need to belong, or “fit in,” drives us to adapt our behavior to the actions of others.

But the real power of observational learning comes from making this process active and conscious.

What does this mean?

Once you understand how observational learning works, you can choose to apply it in ways that support your personal and professional development.

Modeling

Modeling

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is another term for observational learning. Let’s say you want to become an expert presenter. No problem. Find a few presenters that you believe are highly skilled and watch what they do.

Pay attention to everything:

  • How do they hold themselves?
  • When do they pause?
  • How do they emphasize specific points?
  • Do they use slides? Imagery? Sounds?
  • What gestures do they make as they communicate?

Modeling the success of others is perhaps the fastest way to elevate your game and make rapid progress in your development.

Shadowing

In the workplace, observational learning is often called shadowing.

By shadowing an experienced employee for a period, you’ll naturally learn how to perform the tasks this person does each day. This process works effectively in sales environments too.

Apprenticeship

If you study the masters of any field, you quickly learn that they had great teachers or masters from whom they learned.

In Mastery, author Robert Greene points out that those who reach the level of mastery in any field submit to a rigorous apprenticeship to absorb the secret knowledge of those with many years of experience.

Similarly, in The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle highlights that anyone who cultivates talent has a master coach who knows how to break things down and teach things in a way that accelerates learning.

So if there’s any area of your life that you’re seeking mastery in, with who can you form an apprenticeship?

Here in this article, you can learn more about apprenticeship at work: What Is an Apprenticeship and What Value Can It Bring to Your Career?

Hijacking Your Behavior

Our brains, in many ways, are like sponges. We absorb what we observe.

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While this observational learning can be a powerful tool for our personal growth and development, it can also be a destructive force.

How?

Consider all of the bad behavior we witnessed when we were kids (and still today):

The list goes on. And yes, we observed and absorbed these behavioral patterns too from our parents, teachers, family members, and friends.

We also adopt behavior we observe on television and in the media. Studies show, for example, that teens who watched a lot of sexual content were more likely to start having sex soon after.[2]

Does this mean that watching violent movies will make you act violently? Not necessarily, but these images are imprinted in our unconscious and often later express themselves under the right conditions.

Here’s the bottom line:

Be very conscious of the media you consume and with who you spend your time. Our minds are like computer hardware and what we observe is like the software. So choose positive and life-supporting software if you want your brain to mimic it!

5 Ways to Use Observational Learning to Your Advantage

Here are five tips to make observational learning work for you:

1. Be Highly Selective on What, Who and When You Observe

Remember, observational learning is taking place whether we want it to or not. To harness this powerful force, consciously select who you are observing and in what context.

For example, if you know someone who’s highly productive in their work, ask to shadow them as they work.

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But this individual may be an entirely different person when they aren’t working. So be mindful of what behavioral patterns you’re absorbing.

2. Pay Attention to the Details

Those who achieve mastery in any area of their lives do so by mastering the fundamentals and then continually improving on more subtle levels. To the inexperienced eye, it’s often difficult to notice what they do differently.

In the case of negotiations, for example, a skilled negotiator knows how and when to disarm the other player. Sometimes these skills express themselves instinctively, so you may pick up on details in behavior the individual doesn’t even know they are doing.

3. Maintain a Playful Attitude

Many of us are conditioned to believe that seriousness is a valuable quality for learning. Psychologist Abraham Maslow, however, found that self-actualizing individuals,[3] or individuals with positive mental health, tend to have a more innocent, playful attitude when they are learning and developing.

Research also shows that we learn up to ten times faster in the areas that interesting to us.[4] So stay curious, open, and ready to learn.

4. Rehearse What You Observe in Your Mind

Studies show that rehearsing specific patterns of movement in our mind’s eye can help our brains encode desired actions and behaviors.[5] Many peak-performance athletes and musicians use this form of creative visualization training.

Visualization practices are extraordinarily powerful when you do it right before bedtime so your subconscious mind can process in the images while you sleep.

5. Don’t Just Observe, Do

To make observational learning stick, you must also do whatever it is you’re observing . Many companies combine shadowing experienced employees with hands-on training to accelerate the learning and development of new employees.

The Bottom Line

In the personal development space, observational learning is often called modeling the success of others .

Perhaps as you’re reading this, you’re already getting ideas of who you can start modeling.

Here are three questions to help you get started right now:

  1. What skills and behaviors to you want to learn?
  2. Who already possesses these skills and behaviors?
  3. How can you start modeling these individuals right away?

Now, make it so!

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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