Have you ever sat in an interview and wondered what the interviewer was thinking? Was that really a smile? Does that smirk mean something? The interviewer keeps flipping pages; does this mean that they are bored? Are they even listening to me? Interviews are challenging and nerve wracking to say the least. How much of the interaction is real and how much is your imagination? Itís hard to tell, but here are a few thoughts from a recruiter.
You came to the interview dressed in a very casual outfit. You actually wore jeans. If youíre a stay-at-home mom, did you come in stretch pants and a casual shirt? My first thoughts as an interviewer is ďreally?Ē This is how you dress for an interview? While I will continue to be pleasant and go through the motions, my first thought is that you couldnít even take the time to look even semi-professional? Of course, I will go through the interview motions, but your chances of getting this job are slim.
You keep asking me to repeat questions and then stare at me with the ďdeer in the headlightsĒ look. Even worse, you ask me to repeat the question, ďIím sorry, one more time?Ē Donít you listen? It could be a bad day for the interviewer, but you really need to be quicker on your feet. Iím sure you have heard these questions before, perhaps with a slight variation. A seasoned interviewer is willing to give you time to think, but we really donít like to have to come back to the question. Coming back to a question means youíre still thinking about an answer to number two when we are on question number ten.
You donít agree with and/or like a question. Really? Youíre really going to argue with me to change a question? Iím always amazed when a candidate tells me that a question is wrong or doesnít make sense, especially when every other candidate has been able to provide excellent answers. Arguing with an interviewer is not a successful tactic.
Youíre sitting there quietly showing no personality. I know that you may be timid and/or nervous; however, if this is all I know about you, this is definitely an issue. You get one chance to make an impression. Sometimes you need to reach outside of your comfort zone to show me that you really are the best fit for the job. Iím not looking for a chatterbox, but definitely someone who shows an interest.
Most interviewers have the questions written down. Am I flipping the pages during the interview? If Iím flipping back, you may have said something that raises a question from an earlier response. If Iím flipping ahead with a look of concentration, you may have responded to a future question I plan to ask. If Iím flipping forward mindlessly, I am checking to see how much further I have to go. Whatever may be the case, continue to respond to the best of your ability.
Interviewers are human. Just like you, they probably have hundreds of things rooming through their minds, from your responses to the next meeting. Whatever may be the reason, stay on track and answer the questions.