The 3 things that can decide if the interviewer likes you or not
Updated: Oct 27, 2019
We’ve all been there. You interview for the job that you are interested in.
You carefully tailor your job application according to the job description. Your cover letter positions your past experience as being ideal for the job.
After all this you know that you need to follow up and be persistent. On average an interview process takes 22.9 days according to Glassdoor. So you regularly track jobs and follow up on your job application with the help of custom made tools or via spreadsheets.
All this leads you to the face to face interview. A moment that you were waiting for but also something which makes you nervous.
But why do interviews make you nervous? Well for starters, the whole process is spread over multiple days and interactions with over half a dozen people.
If you’re looking for your first job, this might seem back breaking and your nervousness is understood. But why do even experienced job seekers experience anxiety?
The basic reason is that while we focus a lot on polishing ourselves, we forget about the other person who will be a part of the conversation. The interviewer.
And it’s the person on the other side of the table who’s decision it will be. So what are the 3 things on which they are evaluating you for the job.
1. How you’re going to fit in with the company culture
This sounds obvious but in the midst of presenting ourselves as the best man for the job, we forget that we need to be culturally fit for the company.
If you’re invited for an interview, you can assume that the company finds that your technical skills competent for them. That can be deduced by your work experience and resume. But what cannot be deduced is your personality. This can only be done after meeting you and talking with you.
A Millennial Branding study claims that 43% of HR professionals believe that cultural fit is the most important quality job seekers can have. That is why you were called for the interview.
So do some research and try to find out what the company stands for. If you’re interviewing for a sales profile and the company values integrity and is down to earth, be humble. Acting cocky or a know-it-all can be a turn off, while being a positive aspect in some other company which idolizes itself as rebellious and contrarian.
So spend some time on Glassdoor and other websites and try to mould your personality according to the company persona.
An even better way is to speak to the people working there. Before the interview. Use your network to find out people working at that company. Professional social networks like LinkedIn can also help you with that. Reach out to them for coffee or a quick phone call. Add up these notes in a job application tracker so you can reference them later.
This is not only a great way to gather information, but can let everyone know that you’re serious about the job. You can also see if you bond with these people or not. As you’re going to be closely working with them. Having met them before the interview can not only get recommendations but also signal that you’re going to fit in with the company’s culture.
2. Your enthusiasm about the job and the company
If you really want to work at a company, the enthusiasm will pop out. The interviewer can and will judge your determination and enthusiasm. So it is better to let your interest be known. And how well prepared you are with information about the company and interviewer plays an important role in that.
Just like understanding the company is important, so is understanding the interviewer.
The hiring team went through stacks of resumes to find you. They found something about you that they would like to discuss. Similarly, you should also try to find more about the interviewer.
You won’t always know who you’re going to meet, but if you do, spend some time on LinkedIn or call up your friend at the company and ask them. Try to learn about their background and professional reputation. And if possible, what kind of behavior might turn them off.
Then, prepare a few questions using the information that you have gathered. Ask them specific and concise questions. Ask them about the role, the culture and maybe even about any common interest.
Interviewers love it when you show them that you’ve put in time and effort. And even if you cannot find out the interviewer, you still know the company. You can ask questions related to the company’s ethos and business plans. Anything which displays that you are serious, and that this is not just another interview for you. Researching employers is the best way to stand out from the pool of applicants. Again, a job application tracker can come handy to keep notes about the questions.
With this to and fro discussion about the interviewer or the company, you’ll uncover things that will better prepare you to decide if you want to pursue this job or not. You are going to have to do this research when you finally get an offer. Why not do it before the interview and increase your chances of landing the job.
3. How your experience is relevant
A pretty common mistake that you can make is to assume that your resume is enough to highlight your competency. This is a result of a false assumption that the interview is a discussion. It is not. It’s a sales interaction.
Now before we start grudging, we need to understand what is a sales interaction. To put it simply, it is an interaction between a customer and a seller. And in a job interview, you are the seller while the interviewer is the customer. If you’re not comfortable with the idea, remember that with the interview, your agenda is to convince them that you’re the right person for the job. This is what a sales interaction is.
That is why, just hoping that the interviewer will be able to fully comprehend your skills with the resume is foolish. The average recruiter will spend just 6 seconds to read the resume. You can’t even drink a glass of water in 6 seconds and you believe that it enough for a recruiter to size up your skills?
Take some initiative. Spell out for the recruiter how you are the right fit for the position. Give a few examples of how your past experience will prove useful for the company given that you have worked in a similar situation before.
A common saying among the sales professionals is to focus on the benefits rather than the features. You need to talk how your skills will benefit the employer and not just start listing them alphabetically. Make it crystal clear to the interviewer that you can drive change.
All companies are a collection of people working towards a common goal. Rather than just mentioning about your individual skills, it pays to highlight that you can work in a team. And even lead the team if the situations demands.
Describe how you used your leadership and management skills to gather a team and work towards a single objective. How you motivated them or overcame hurdles as a group are crucial skills for a leader.
By doing the above things, you’ll also showcase another skill. Your soft skills. It is only by combining your technical and soft skills can you establish your expertise.
This is not an exhaustive check-list. Following these tips will put you at a significant advantage as most job seekers overlook them. Yes, you will need to spend some time preparing for every interview and track the dozen of jobs that you have applied for. But it will all be worth it.