Sitting here, waiting to hear the results from my latest in 5 months worth of job interviews, the thought struck me that Corporate Interviewers, just like any other professional, must have some “tricks of the trade”, which they rely upon in order to find the right job candidate for any position for which they are interviewing applicants.
The professional life of an Interviewer eventually finds them in front of every single type of individual, whether they be introvert, extrovert, detail-oriented, or free spirit.
While Interviewers all have their own particular interviewing style, there are certain common methods that they use in order to get the job candidate to “open up”.
Here is a list of 10 “tricks of the trade” which Interviewers use to get a job candidate to let their guard down during a Job Interview, initially posted on money.usnews.com in March of 2012. (The list of methods is the author’s. The analysis and any smart alack remarks which may pop up are mine.)
There are some interviewers who will remain silent after you finish answering their question, hoping that you will continue to talk and reveal something about yourself that you did not intend to.
Answer their question succinctly. If their silence continues, ask them if there was something else about the topic of the question that they wanted to know.
2. Extreme friendliness.
By putting you at ease, Interviewers hope to break down your defenses and gain insight into the “real you”.
The Interviewer, while friendly, isn’t your BFF. Stay professional.
3. Asking “What do you know about us so far?”
When Interviewers ask you this, they want to know if you desire the job enough to learn about the company, i.e , “do your homework”.
In this case, what you don’t know CAN hurt you.
4. Asking why you’re thinking about leaving your current job (or why you left your last job).
This is another “Gotcha” Question.
The Interviewer is attempting to get you to reveal if you left on bad terms or if you’re willing to badmouth your former employer.
Remain positive. Keep your private thoughts about your former employer private.
5. Asking how soon you can start.
Interviewers want to know if you posses the strength of character to give your current employer at least two-weeks notice. If you are employed, and you tell the interviewer that you can start immediately, they will assume you’ll do that to them someday, too.
6. Asking you to follow up about something.
The Interviewer is testing you to see how well you remember and follow up on commitments, even small or informal ones.
7. Leaving you with the receptionist.
If you are a “People Person”, like I am, you might slip up and say things to the receptionist that you would never say to an Interviewer.
Just remember that the receptionist is the gatekeeper. Just as is the case with salespeople trying to get in front of a decision-maker, she will follow up with her boss after you leave.
If they chat with you, talk about the weather or compliment the “cute” picture of their grandchild.
8. If you were laid off, asking if others were laid off with you.
The question “How many in your department were laid off as well?” Is an attempt by the Interviewer to find out if a past employer laid you off in order to avoid having to fire you for performance issues.
9. Asking you to describe your dream job.
If you answer with any other job than the one you are applying for…you’ve shot yourself in the foot.
If you are interviewing for a job as a zoo keeper, don’t say that you want to be a Big Game Hunter.
10. Asking what questions you have.
A good Interviewer can tell a lot about you by what questions you ask. Interviewers want to hear insightful questions about the position itself, the company culture, and the organizational structure.
There are also some general statements about yourself that every Job Interviewer wants to hear.
In November of 2012, Forbes.com posted an article titled, “5 Things Every Employer Wants To Hear”.
Here is a list of those statements.
1. You will never have to tell me what to do twice.
This shows that you don’t let any moss grow under your feet, i.e., that you are pro-active and engaged.
2. I will complete the job/assignment you give me with excellence.
This tells the Interviewer that you take your assignments seriously and excise due diligence in the performance of your job duties.
3. I am open to learning, adapting, adjusting and to receiving feedback on how I can improve.
This shows that you are not a know-it-all and that you will recognize your manager’s authority.
4. I am easy to correct and instruct.
With this statement, you are telling the Interviewer that you have a good, professional attitude, with a strong dose of humility thrown in for good measure.
5. I am a loyal employee.
This statement lets them know that, if they hire you, you will be a steadfast, productive employee for as long as they will have you.
Remember, every Job Interview is different, as is the style of every Interviewer.
So, get out there, land an interview, and give it your best shot. As Legendary Professional Hockey Player, Wayne Gretzky, once quipped,
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
My sincere hope is that the insights and suggestions provided in today’s blog will help you land your “dream job”.
Never give up. Never surrender.