An interview has two sides, yours, and your interviewer’s. Here’s a pleasant truth: You and your interviewer have the same agenda: To determine if the job opportunity is right for you.
Your interviewer isn’t your enemy. They just want to make sure they’re making the right hire. Job seekers never consider that their interviewer’s hiring decisions are judged by their boss and their boss’s boss, the team the new hire will join—essentially everyone at the company.
Our goal is to avoid bad hires
Employers never want to hear: “Who hired Bob? He always comes in late, is rude, has yet to complete his assignments on time and has below-average Excel skills for a junior accountant. What was the organization thinking hiring Bob?”
A hiring manager’s judgment skills will be called into question if he or she makes “a few” bad hires. The same holds true if a recruiter presents unsuitable candidates to their client. It’s good to be empathetic to your interviewer’s need to make a good hire; it’ll help you bond with your interviewer.
This is why there is a great deal of vetting during the hiring process to minimize the possibility of hiring a liability.
Your interviewer wants to know three things:
- Can you do the job?
- Will you like the job?
- Will you be a good fit with the team and the company?
There is no universal hiring method
We’re often asked how we hire. What do we look for in a candidate? We want to remind people there is no universal hiring process. We evaluate candidates differently than other hiring managers and vice versa. We know of candidates who weren’t hired by us and went on to find a suitable employer.
Truth: Human bias and gut feelings play a critical role in the hiring process, which is why a universal hiring method doesn’t exist.
Although you weren’t hired by ABC employer, that doesn’t mean that XYZ employer won’t hire you. As there isn’t a universal hiring method, there isn’t a universal “must hire” employee either.
Your interviewer is looking for something familiar
Your interviewer doesn’t owe you, a stranger, anything. This is why networking, which many shy away from, and maintaining an extensive professional network is beneficial to your job search and career development; you become “familiar.” We all gravitate towards what is familiar.
You need to fit into the culture
On the other hand, your interviewer is responsible to their employer, current employees and the business’s customers. If you’re speaking with a recruiter, they’re accountable to their client. The interviewer’s objective is to find a qualified candidate who’ll fit into the team and culture and contribute to the company/department’s goals.
This just in - evaluation criteria from a hiring manager
With the above said, here’s a holistic overview of how we evaluate a candidate, bearing in mind that we are sharing the criteria of one type of hiring manager. (Remember, there’s no universal hiring methodology.)
- Above-average communication skills, both spoken and written, are a non-negotiable requirement.
- We like—really like—candidates who have confidence in their abilities and are comfortable with themselves.
- If you come across as having a sense of entitlement, our conversation will be short.
- The more interest you show in the job and company, the more points you’ll receive. Being interested is a powerful gesture.
- If you seem burnt out or outdated (past your expiration date), an interviewer will pass on you.
- Our focus isn’t on your accomplishments or experience. Our focus is on what you can do now and in the future for the company.
- Show me you’re listening. Refer to something I said earlier. “When you mentioned that XYZ Inc. was launching a new line of granola bars in mid-July to take advantage of back-to-school sales, I was impressed by the timing. You mentioned Genom Corporation wants to capture 25% of the granola bar market by the end of 2023. What is your outlook for the second half of 2022?”
- Don’t tell me what you want me to think of you. (e.g., “I’m a team player,” “I’m detail-oriented,” “I can sell.”) Show me! Prove it! (e.g., “I’m part of a 20-person Inside Sales team. Daily I handle 60 – 80 calls. Last year I exceeded my quota of $1.5 million by $350,000.”)
- Your questions should demonstrate that you are evaluating the job opportunity, me, the company, and your fit.
Your goal is to connect with your interviewer
Connecting with their interviewer is a job seeker’s primary goal. Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Before you walk into an interview, ask yourself, What do I want my interviewer to feel about me?