10 Things An Interviewer Looks For During A Job Interview

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz

Professional Human Resources (PHR) Certified

Landing a job interview is an exciting moment. No doubt you’re a bit nervous as you prepare to make an impression on your interviewers. To give yourself the best chance to succeed, be sure you know what qualities they’re looking for.

1. Are You Punctual?

If you’re getting to the interview late, you’re already off to a bad start. Don’t let traffic or parking issues prevent you from being at least 10-15 minutes early to your interview. You want a few minutes to relax before being called in the room. If you’re rushing, you’re going to be even more flustered. There’s nothing worse than walking into a room full of people you realize are waiting for you.

Your interviewers are watching to make sure you can be counted on to be somewhere when you say you will. Failing to arrive in time tells a lot about you before the interview even starts. Making excuses for yourself also shows some insight into what kind of employee you might be.

2. Are You Listening?

Interviewers might spend time telling you about the company or reading off details about the position. They’re not doing that to inform themselves. They’re providing the information to you because it’s relevant to the interview and to the process. Taking notes during an interview is completely fine, but make sure you’re still hearing what they’re saying.

Good listening skills are also required when answering questions interviewers have of you. Make sure you understand what they’re asking and respond accordingly. If you answer a question incompletely or in a way that confuses the interviewer, it won’t look good for you. Interviewers are making sure you can respond to the question being asked or that you’re willing to seek clarity if you don’t understand.

3. Are You Prepared?

These are basic actions which show you’re prepared for the interview.

Interviewers are also looking to see how much you’ve researched about the company and what kind of questions you’ve prepared for them. Walking in to an interview with little to no knowledge of the company will be noticed quickly. If you’ve haven’t taken the time to prepare questions based on the job or organization, you’re showing the interviewers you’re not that invested in the opportunity.

4. Do You Know Your Own Resume?

Interviewers will often refer to specific language or details on your resume. Be sure you’re familiar with your resume and have looked over it regularly before the interview. This is another reason you should always bring extra copies of your resume to an interview. Your interviewers might not need them, but it’s helpful for you to refer to specific details if necessary. Make sure you have examples and stories prepared for the jobs and duties on your resume.

5. What Is Your Body Language Saying?

You can be nervous during a job interview. In fact, it’s often expected. You’re not likely to be discounted for the role because you appeared a bit nervous. But if you’re unable or unwilling to make eye contact with your interviewers, that might hurt you.

Don’t slouch in your chair or engage in any annoying habits (nail biting, toe tapping, etc.). Be sure to smile naturally when answering questions or talking to your interviewers. When you’re being asked questions, simple movements like leaning forward or light nodding indicate a true interest in what’s being said. Those behaviors come across as more engaged then someone looking out the window and crossing their arms.

6. Do You Actually Want The Job?

Interviewers are trying to determine if you really want this job or just any job. The best way to determine this is by asking specific questions like “how does this role help you accomplish your career goals”? The answer is usually very telling and interviewers are experienced in determining who has a genuine interest in the role and who just wants to get a foot in the door or who just needs a paycheck.

7. Can You Do The Job?

Hopefully, you won’t have been asked to come in for an interview if the company doesn’t think you have the necessary skills to do the work. That is a waste of everyone’s time. Interviewers will be asking you detailed questions and for specific examples to ensure that you can successfully do this job without too much of a learning curve. They’re looking for you to put them at ease when it comes deciding to hire you.

8. Will You Fit In With The Company Culture?

Being successful in the role isn’t just about being able to do the work. Interviewers are trying to determine if you’ll fit in with company’s corporate culture and environment. If you tell them you can’t stand being micromanaged, and the interviewer knows the supervisor tends to micromanage often, it might not be a match culturally. The interviewer will be looking at you to determine if they can actually see you sitting at the desk and in that role.

9. Are Your Expectations Reasonable?

For most jobs, the candidate doesn’t walk in with a lot of leverage to make large demands. This might occur at a VP or CEO level, but not for entry-level to upper-management. Your interviewer will be listening for any requirements or expectations they feel fall outside the scope of what’s standard.

Telling an interviewer that you expect to maintain two work-from-home days a week like your current company provides might not benefit your candidacy for the position. Specific expectations and demands are better left for the negotiation stage of a job offer.

10. Are You Flexible?

Interviewers will rely on behavioral questions to determine how you adapt and react to difficult situations. They want to see someone who can prove he/she is a strong problem solver and who can react to potentially stressful situations with ease. Being too rigid in your job is what can often lead to friction in the workplace. Interviewers are keeping an eye out for someone who will adapt and change as the job does.

About The Author

Robin Schwartz
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Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz is a PHR certified HR professional with a broad range of expertise including recruitment, performance management, employee relations and talent management. She leverages her years of experience in HR to bring functional change to organizational leadership and direction to management structures and employees. Robin aims to empower the employees and managers she works with by providing coaching and counseling services.

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