How to Read the Interviewer’s Thoughts

Wouldn’t it be great to know what the interviewer is thinking?  That way you would know exactly what they are looking for, and you could give a perfect answer to every question.  Also you would be aware of all of their concerns, and you could address them immediately.  If you can read the interviewer, you are able to present yourself as the best fit for the job.

Keep in mind that most interviewers will be difficult to read.  Many interviewers are highly trained professionals, and will conduct formal, structured interviews.  They will ask every candidate the same questions, and they will not deviate from the script.  Most human resources professionals know how to hide their opinions and feelings in an interview.  However, in some cases, you may be interviewed by the department manager, who may be less formal and easier to read.

Here are some cues to look for: 

Facial Expressions/Body Language

Pay close attention to the interviewer’s facial expressions and body language.  Are they nodding and smiling when you give your answers, or are they frowning?  Are their arms crossed?  Are they making eye contact with you?  Use their body language to help you determine if you are on the right track, or if your points require further clarification.

Are they asking you difficult questions?

While it is no fun sitting in the hot seat, it is actually a good sign if the interviewer is asking you the hard questions.  If they are actually considering hiring you, they will challenge you with tough questions to make sure that you are as skilled and experienced as you say you are.  If they only ask general, easy questions, they be not be interested in hiring you, and are just going through the motions of the interview. 

Repeated questions and issues

Are there any questions or issues that keep coming up over and over again?  If so, then it is either something that is of vital importance to the position, or it is an area where the employer has assessed your skills as weak.  Either way, it is something that you must be sure to address.  Using examples from your education and experience, outline to the employer how you are equipped to face the challenge. 

Listen to what the interviewer says

Often, the interviewer will actually come right out and say what they are looking for in a candidate.  The problem is that most candidates are too busy thinking about their answers, that they don’t listen to what the employer is saying.  Don’t make that mistake.  Pay close attention to what the interviewer says, as they may be giving you valuable information.  

Be Careful!  Although observing the interviewer can help you perform well, it is a tricky business.  If you are spending too much time trying to read the interviewer’s cues, it can cause you to lose focus.  If you are trying to tell the manager what they want to hear, you may not seem genuine.  Do pay attention to the interviewer’s cues, but don’t let it distract you.  Your goal at the interview is to show them how your skills and experiences make you the perfect fit for the position, and to give them the opportunity to get to know you.

(Written By:  Karen Bivand, Photo From: Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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