Ever want to get inside the mind of a recruiter or hiring manager during an interview? According to a recent post on U.S. News & World Report, Allison Green writes there are several things interviewers are thinking but won’t tell you.
1. You’re being judged on how you’re dressed and groomed. This should be a given, yes? Green writes, “In most industries, a professional appearance still matters. You don’t need to wear expensive clothes, but showing up in a casual outfit or clothes that don’t fit properly, having unkempt hair, or inappropriately flashy makeup can harm your chances.”
2. You shouldn’t over sell yourself. If you’ve ever tried to buy a car and felt pummeled by an overzealous salesperson or tried to quit your gym membership only to be talked into remaining a member, we hear ya. The good news is you’re aware and most likely ticked off when people are too aggressive so the key point as you’re interviewing is to not be that guy or gal. Considering interviewers are people, too they can spot when a job candidate tries to hard to sell him or herself. Instead of focusing on the aggressive sell, highlight what you can bring to the table and why they should hire you. Keep it simple.
3. Little things count. This point is so important, it must be repeated (all together now) — little things count. We’ve seen hiring managers get turned off when a candidate was rude to a receptionist or in another instance, someone acted weird with a bowl of candy (and be weird, we mean to walk by en route to an interview room and grab three pieces to quickly hurl them into one’s mouth). Newsflash: As a job seeker, your behavior is being evaluated from start to finish, up and down, all around. Yes, interviews and follow ups count like the thank-you note but your soft skills are important, too.
4. Know when to stop talking. In the piece, Green writes, “Your answers to your interviewer’s questions should be direct and to-the-point. Rambling and unnecessary tangents raise doubts about your ability to organize your thoughts and convey needed information quickly.” As you’re self-aware about succinctness of your responses (or in some cases, lack thereof), it’s never to late to pull back the reigns, read his or her body language, and also ask a question. Green also suggests stopping yourself after two minutes of talking and simply asking the interviewer if more examples are necessary.
5. Personality matters. Consider this: If two candidates have resumes that are almost identical, guess who will get the job? Give up? Someone who fits in better with the team. It could be your personality, work style, all of the above but just because you look great on paper doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll land a job offer. Conversely, you may look great on paper but one way to truly pop is to stand out with your soft skills. Green reminds us in the piece, “Remember, it’s not just a question of whether you have the skills to do the job; it’s also a question of fit for this particular position, with this particular boss, in this particular culture, and in this particular company.”