What Recruiters Are Thinking During An Interview
You’ve just got that call you’ve been expecting the entire week – finally, an answer after all these applications! That awesome company wants you to come over for an interview in the next few days. Anxiety strikes. You know that PR position is just perfect for you. They also believe you’re qualified enough – otherwise, they wouldn’t want to meet in person. Now, all you have to do is prove them you stand out from the crowd and are in fact the best choice amongst the other candidates. You can do that by knowing a little bit more about those who are about to interview you – what they think about the hiring process, the candidate’s behaviors, and what they are tired of hearing.
We know what you did last summer
Recruiters are professional stalkers. They have Googled you and have read what you wrote on online forums, Facebook posts, tweets and photos. This can work out in your favor, as blogging the right way can do wonders to your resume, but it can also be harmful if you’re careless with your online behavior.
The way you express yourself (tone and word usage) and your interests say a lot about the person you are and what you can bring to the company. Bring them up in the interview and use them to your advantage. But be careful – they are also trying to get more dirt on you than TMZ in search of Lindsay Lohan’s next DUI, so make sure there’s nothing to be found. Google yourself and delete any drunken pictures, dubious statements and any other remark that could raise an eyebrow.
The Devil wears Prada, you on the other hand…
Remember when Anne Hathaway played an assistant to an infamous fashion magazine owner on The Devil Wears Prada and had to go through a massive makeover? Remember why that happened? She was not in tune with the company’s culture. Think of that as an inspiration for when you’re choosing the outfit for your next interview. Say you are applying for a corporate communications position in a big organization. If you walk in wearing flip-flops and ripped jeans, you’re making a very bad first impression. Every company has different dress codes, so do your research beforehand. And remember kids, “It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed”, as Coco Chanel rightfully stated. When in doubt, play it safe.
Yeah, yeah… we know you’re a perfectionist
Drop the cliché when answering the questions. The interviewer called you in because they want to have a grasp of the real you, how you talk, behave and react to a few situations. We know how hard an interview can be, especially if you’ve been waiting for an opportunity like that for a long time, but try to relax and be yourself. Small talk is okay, but they probably don’t want to hear that you spent your last Saturday night watching Netflix for 9 hours straight in your bed, so focus on what is of value to the position you’re applying.
Saying you’re a team player, a fast learner and that your biggest flaw is being a perfectionist is the equivalent of going on a first date and hearing that they enjoy long walks on the beach and cute puppies. What does that even mean? Instead, give them examples of situations that you’ve gone through, problems you’ve overcome and make the conversation more tangible. Show how your experience can be a valuable asset to the company.
We prefer charisma over a flawless resume
The perfect candidate is not the most qualified, in terms of knowledge – that is. Don’t assume you’ll get that job just because you’ve met all the necessary requirements. You could have gone to the best universities, gotten only straight A’s and worked with some of the most respectable clients in the past, but if there’s no spark between you and the recruiter, that means squat. That’s right, the “Likabitly Factor” plays a big role.
Consultant and author on hiring strategies William Knegendorf surveyed over 300 hiring managers on decision time to reject an applicant after the beginning of an interview. His data showed an average time to rejection of 4 to less than 10 seconds. What was the cause of their rush to judgment? “I didn’t like them.” Skills and talents were never mentioned.
How do you get them to like you? That’s a tricky question and a wide array of factors are involved. If you wonder how your personality comes out in an interview, practice with a friend and ask them to give you feedback. Eye contact, tone of voice, level of enthusiasm and confidence is the key to come out as a likable candidate – pay attention to your non-verbal communications. Truth is, a hiring manager will hire someone that they want to be around, both as a co-worker and as a person.
“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return”
Think of your job interview as a first date. They’re jealous and don’t want to see you flirting around. Sure, you’ve been applying for other jobs, but they don’t want to feel just like another company on your list. Empty words don’t work. You have to express why they’ve caught your attention – and why you’d rather be with them, genuinely.
Do your research about the company and the position beforehand. It’s OK if you don’t understand it completely – that’s the time to ask questions and find out more about their culture, values and expectations. Use this knowledge to explain how your experience, skills, and willingness to learn can make a difference. If you’re just after the paycheck and the interviewer senses it, forget about it – it’s not meant to be.
All in all, keep in mind that the person you’re about to meet knows a lot more than what you might think and way beyond what’s written on your resume. Make sure you do too, being aware of your online presence and your attitude towards the interviewer and the company. That’s what’s going to keep you ahead of the competition.