An important aspect of your interview experience and preparation is to understand what the interviewers look for, while speaking with you.
Depending on the role you are considering and the organization you applied to, different skills and capabilities will be measured and assessed during the recruitment process. There are, however, a few aspects that are common for most of the interviewers, setting clear expectations towards you as the candidate for the job.
The most common aspects to be mindful of include:
Be conscious of time
Every interview has a time limit during which an interviewer needs to ask several questions. Remember that each candidate is, or at least should be, asked the same questions in order to be assessed in a fair manner. If your answers are prolonged and include irrelevant information, you might end up in a disadvantaged position.
Provide clear, straightforward answers to the questions you were asked and be mindful and respectful of your speaker’s time. Also, what employers look for in an interview is the capacity to summarize and sometimes stick to the relevant information only.
Also, be mindful to actually respond to the questions you are being asked. What interviewers want to hear is not what you prepared at home but exactly what they are asking you. So listen and be present in the moment. This will also show if you are adaptable and flexible, something that all employers are interested in. You’ll paint yourself as a resourceful person in no time!
Why do you want to leave your current employer and why do you want to work for us? These questions may seem simple and innocent at first glance. However, the chances are there’s a secondary meaning to them. What do interviews look for with this question? To see if adding you to their team would be a risk to the image of the company!
Do not badmouth your current and past employers and avoid expressing extreme discontent with them. On one hand, this indicates to your potential future employer that you may promote a negative image of them in the future. On the other hand, this can indicate your communication style is not based on constructive and reasonable information and has a tendency to complain. This is a feature seldom, if ever, welcomed among the teams. You need to demonstrate that you are a person that people would enjoy to be working with on a daily basis. So show your good side!
When it comes to answering second-type questions, do your homework and do a thorough research about the company. Your answer to this type of questions tells your interviewers how much effort you put into preparing for the interview. Depending on your areas of interest and motivation, you should focus on:
- The company products/services that are of interest to you.
- Company values.
- Customer Service activities.
Maybe you know someone who works for the company and having spoken to them, you find the internal development opportunities attractive. Don’t be afraid to mention that as well. What interviewers look for is interest in their company, that not every candidate will have! Plus it also shows the willingness of going the extra mile to do the research.
Your motivation, drive and goals should also be aligned with the company culture and structure and you should also exhibit reasonable expectations. Whether or not you are a good fit for the company will most likely be decided at a later date so be yourself at the interview. What employers look for in an interview is the capacity to relax under pressure too.
During interviews, you will typically be asked several behavioral questions, requesting you to speak about your previous experiences.
One example is “tell me about a time when you…” or “describe a situation when you…”. The purpose of those questions it to assess a specific skill and/or competency necessary for the job.
Our recommendation is to prepare your answer using a STAR technique:
S (situation) – describe a specific situation or challenge you experienced, including details relevant to the question.
T (task) – describe your personal role in this situation/challenge.
A (action) – describe what actions did you take in order to tackle and/or solve this situation.
R (result) – describe what was the tangible result of your actions? Were there any take-aways? If yes, what were they?
Don’t ignore your body language either. What do interviewers look for? A person who is as calm and collected as he sounds and has an open and friendly posture. Maintain eye contact to gain their trust.
What do interviewers want to hear from you at the end of the interview? Your own questions or ideas! Do not be afraid to ask questions that you’re truly interested in and that will help you see the full picture of the job, team and the company. You naturally want to understand what is the scope of the role, what is the team structure and energy like or how will the interview process look like. Apart from that, you can go one step further and ask your interviewers what do they value in the company and why do they work for it?
Among our recommended questions, we can enumerate:
- Why the need to fill the position?
- What are the skills required to succeed in this role?
- The biggest challenges that you will most likely face?
- What do they see as the right employee?
- How vital is your position in achieving the goals of the company?
In times like the one of COVID-19, you can ask your interviewer about the company’s response to this crisis and what, if any, are the changes in the working habits? Maybe the company recently released a new product or service which is storming the market. Ask about the product and how is it perceived by the employees?
At the end of the day, we spend at least a third of our lives at work. We deserve to receive the most accurate hiring information before making such an important life decision.