What to Expect When Expecting: An Interview

May 1, 2019 admin

office scene

The Interviewee

As a soon-to-be graduate, I have been a candidate for several positions in many different interview processes. When going through some of these different processes I have experienced the good and the bad. The first thing I look for is how passionate the interviewer is about the company and if their values align with mine. If the interviewer seems uninterested it’s the first red flag for me. Throughout the process I try and make connections with the supervisors I would be reporting to and see if the supervisors act as a “leader” or a “boss”. It is easy to tell who wants their employees to succeed and who does not. The last key point I always look for is whether the job description and duties are presented similar online and in person. Knowing the details of the position to the full extent and making sure that you have asked all your questions and concerns is very important before furthering the process.

Once the initial interview is complete and you have a feel for the position and company the waiting game starts. From my previous experience I have always given the interviewer a week to reply to me and if they do not, I follow up with them.  Employers appreciate this gesture and find it professional which can help you stand out in a crowd. The interview process can be intimidating to many but having knowledge of the company and being ready to answer any questions that are thrown at you are the first steps in a successful interview.

The Interviewer

I wanted to learn from the perspective of someone who interviews for a living. I found a tenured professional well-versed in the interview process. This is what was shared with me from the interviewers' point of view. I was told that it starts as soon as the greeting and the handshake, this all creates the first impression. Employers are looking for eye contact and body posture to how candidates present themselves. Are you slouching back or sitting up, intently listening?

As the interview begins, Interviewers are listening to how you are answering the questions asked? If you are using examples and stories that are relevant or using general ideas without specifics? The ability to understand how your past experiences can be used to leverage future situations can help you stand out over other candidates. Interviewers also pay attention to the speed of the responses. This can determine how well the interviewee is listening and considering a quality response. Remember it is always okay to ask clarifying questions to ensure that you are answering the correct question.

As the interview progresses, they look for changes in body language, the interviewer is looking for the interviewee to progress in a positive manner with confidence and excitement. Interviewers also consider the questions being asked by the interviewee, these can provide insight to the thought process of the candidate. When given the opportunity to ask questions, make the questions relevant and probing to get quality information. Make references to the job description and the tasks required for the position.

At the end of the interview, giving an overall summary about how your skills can be used to fulfill the needs of the position and the company. This shows how you can take your skills and the information learned in the interview and apply it to a future with the company. Also take the time to identify next steps because this shows drive and initiative in candidates. A goal of the interview is to distinguish yourself as the best candidate for the position.

The best questions to ask

When entering an interview have questions prepared to address the things you would like to learn about the role and the company. As an interviewee some the of the questions I always ask include “What is the company culture like at your company?”, “What is the average tenure of a person in this position?”, and “What does success look like for this position?”. Asking open ended questions is important so that way you get a detailed answer and can get the most out of the interview. Think of everything you want to know about the company and position and if the interviewer does not answer them during the interview then be sure to ask them at the end. I have learned that interviewers appreciate candidates who are curious about the job and want to know more.

Am I a good fit?

A question that many of us wonder is, “Am I good fit for this position?” and “Is this the right role?” These are normal questions for people to be concerned about but there are certain things to consider. First, do you see yourself doing these duties every day, and do the company values match your own?  Next, figure out if the role will further develop your skillset and help you reach your professional goals. Take your time and do not make any decisions without thoroughly thinking through the benefits versus consequences. Do not take the first offer, take the best offer for you.

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