10 things you should know about your job interviewer

People are often so focused on their own performance in an job interview that they don’t stop to think about what’s going on with their interviewer … but understanding where your interviewer is coming from can help you do a better job and have a less confusing, frustrating, or anxiety-producing experience.

Over at U.S. News & World Report today, I talk about 10 things you should know about your interviewer. You can read it here.

{ 9 comments… read them below }

  1. AG

    One thing that would be nice is to find videos of successful interviews, where the candidate in question actually got the job. Maybe even a comparison to an interview with a candidate with similar qualifications who didn’t get the job.

    1. A Bug!

      That’s a pretty solid idea, but the logistics of such a thing are making my brain melt.

      I’m getting flashbacks to university psychology! You can’t record subjects without their informed consent, but by alerting your subjects to the fact that they’re being recorded, you are 1) changing their behavior, making it less relevant to the topic of study and 2) causing your pool of subjects to self-select, possibly altering your demographic.

    2. Joey

      I think what helps the most is being in the role of the interviewer. Not necessarily in a traditional manager role( although that helps), but if you ever hire a babysitter, nanny, contractor to do repairs, etc. or make a large purchase like a home/ car it’s amazing how much it can help you if you structure like a job interview. You’ll find that you will start looking for the same sorts of things that employers look for.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        YES. This is huge. Also, read materials aimed at interviewers (books, blog posts about how to interview candidates, etc.); you’ll get a much better understanding of what they’re looking for.

  2. Jamie

    I love numbered lists.

    #5 is so important – the idea is to rule out the people who will be the human equivalent of nails on a chalkboard 45 hours a week for the rest of your time there. No one is looking for a BFF so you don’t have to try too hard.

    That sweet moment when you know your new co-worker is cool on a personal level takes more time:

    1. When you get that she has a sense of humor
    2. When you notice she is deliberately not rolling her eyes at the same people at whom you are deliberately not rolling your eyes
    3. When you feel safe in enlisting her into your secret cabal that hides the menu from the horrible restaurant and takes her turn taking the battery out of the singing snowman which makes you want to kill yourself the whole month of December.
    4. When you realize she doesn’t have to be told to put more Diet Coke in the fridge when she’s taken the last one.
    5. When she becomes your source of information for all the funny and interesting stuff that happens when you’re busy…

    Yeah, that takes time and doesn’t come along every day. Happily settle for not terribly annoying in an interview is a good place to start.

    1. Tater B.

      Did we work together? Your list is so much my work personality I feel like I wrote it myself. However, I’ve been on the fence lately about mentioning my sense of humor in interviews. Not everyone gets my dry wit (think Niles and Frasier Crane). LOL

      1. Jamie

        Ha – I don’t think so, but if you fit the list I’d certainly love to. Can always use more coworkers like that.

  3. Lily

    A big part of the problem transitioning from worker to manager was completely revising my standards when it came to judging people!

    I used to judge the ability to chit chat and pass the time of day. Now, I wonder when the candidate will get to the point. So, 5 is a lot less important and 6 is very important, compared to when I was just a worker and took other people’s complaints about their horrible bosses a lot more seriously than I do now.

    8 and 9 are becoming more and more true for me and I am not yet comfortable with them. I always thought of myself as sincere, open and honest and I hate suspecting others of concealment and lying and making promises they can’t keep, but I’ve been conned too often :-(

  4. Lily

    Sorry, “conned” is too strong a word. I don’t actually know if others have intentionally concealed information or lied to me. Sometimes, people fool themselves into believing they can deliver when they can’t. Or they don’t recognize their own incompetence. Or they need the perfect manager (and I definitely don’t fit the bill) So, they can be honest, and I still end up with a headache trying to get them to deliver.

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