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Ankur Tyagi
Ankur Tyagi

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20 Psychological Things You Must Take Care of in a Job Interview

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Today, I’ll share my interview experience, which will help you present yourself well in your upcoming interview and avoid common mistakes.

While you’re in the interview hot seat watching for clues from your interviewer, they are busy watching you — looking for their clues.

Interviewers look for things they want to hear in your answers, ways you handle yourself during the interview, or simply some sign that shows them what you might be like if you worked for them.

In my 12+ years of experience in software development, I interviewed around 400+ folks; about half didn’t make it past the phone interview, and even after carefully rejecting 70% of all applicants, a lot of the interviewees were just plain unsuitable.

It wasn’t that they were unqualified; they didn’t know how to interview.

They didn’t know how to present themselves, what to wear, what questions to ask & how to answer.

Let me tell you the 20 top things as an interviewer and the mistakes interviewees made generally.

What can you do (and say) to stand out in your following interview and be remembered from among the crowd?

1- Arrive 15 Minutes Early

My mentor told me once: “If you’re early — you’re on time, if you’re on time — you’re late, and if you’re late — you’re fired.”

I’ve seen candidates talk about the wait time they need to bear before their slots come. So think Again. On the flip side, some candidates arrive as much as an hour early — forcing the interviewer to alter their schedule.

Arriving 15 minutes before time seems to be the sweet spot.

2- Wear a suit or a blazer

Suits and blazers are powerful clothing; that’s why top executives, bankers, and presidents wear them. Most interviewees will show up without one, making you stand out in the crowd; this is still applicable even in the virtual interview era due to COVID.

3- Give the interviewer a firm handshake

Don’t Just Say “Hi/Hey/Hello,” Say “Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening.”

It isn’t too important, but it shows that you’re awake and aware.
Your handshake is the first physical contact you make with the interviewer.

4- Tell me a bit about yourself

The most common and predictable question & candidates still mess it up.

This question goes to demonstrate how much you prepared for the interview.

A good answer should cover:

“I’m [Full Name]. I have [x] years of experience as an [position] in [Industry].” + “I would say my strengths include [3 strengths customized to the job].” + “My hobbies and interests are [xyz].” Fill in other details about yourself.

5- Why should we hire you?

When you’re answering most interview questions, you’re selling yourself indirectly. But, on the other hand, this question is essentially asking you, nay, inviting you to market yourself in a more natural tone.

Avoid using words like “dedicated.” “driven,” “hard-working,” and “confident” in your answer.

A good answer should cover:

“You should hire me because of my experience in [x], [y], [z], and previously I have been involved in projects involving [x], [y], [z].

6- Research the interviewers

Read your email carefully, which HR shared with you. You’ll be told the names of the people who’ll be on the interview panel.

Google them, find their Twitter/LinkedIn account, and search if they’ve published any pages or articles.

Read through them because people tend to ask questions about things they are already an expert in, and you can impress people by using their own words to answer their questions.

7- Eye Contact

Eye contact helps you develop a connection with the interviewer and makes it much more likely for them to remember you. -Plus, it shows that you’re alert and listening.

Again, as with the smile, you don’t want to overdo it and create a staring contest. But easy eye contact during conversational exchanges can help make that connection.

8- Did you respond to the questions I pose?

It’s important to prepare for interviews in advance, but during the interview itself, pay close attention to the conversation and respond only to questions that have been put to you.

I’ve had people come to interviews so overly prepared with canned answers that they try to use their memorised answers, even if it’s not exactly what was asked.

So listen to the whole question and respond naturally.

If you jump ahead to practice your answer in your head while the interviewer is still talking, that’s a big turnoff.

Trust yourself and find your own words.

Be conversational.

It will help you connect with the interviewer, which is what you want to do.

9- Are you showing me your authentic self?

Whether you’re using canned answers or spontaneous answers, are you telling me what you think I want you to say or the real story based on who you are and the experiences you’ve had so far?

I’ve had job candidates giving me only the part they think I want to see, and they come off phoney or one-dimensional.

And they don’t connect well with the other interviewers or me.

If I think there’s enough, I try other ways to get them to open up to us, but many interviewers won’t go that far.

10- Do you understand the job you’re interviewing for?

This may seem obvious, but I’ve interviewed people who didn’t know what the job entailed, even though they applied for it.

But, of course, you can’t know everything about it.

Asking you what the job is like daily is a valid question at the end of the interview. But at the very least, review the job description and look up anything you aren’t entirely familiar with.

11- Did you take the time to learn about us?

In addition to researching the job, you need to research the company.

  • What is business all about?
  • What are the specialities of the division/department you’re interviewing with?

Use the internet to find out all you can — even possibly the names of people who work there.

12- Do you have the personality to do the job?

This is an essential part of an interviewer’s job. If the job calls for lots of people contact and public interactions, we don’t want someone who seems especially shy.

But conversely, if the job takes place in a cubicle with almost no outside interaction, an extrovert might be bored.

13- Do you have reasonable expectations?

Employers not only want to know if you’re a good fit for the job, but they’re looking to make sure the job will be a good fit for you.

An unhappy employee isn’t good for anyone. And no employer wants to go through the hiring process again too soon.

While most employers want you to look to grow both horizontally and vertically within their company, it’s also crucial that we get a sense you understand what the position is and isn’t … and how quickly any advancement can be reasonably expected.

Something you might want to ask about is if this is your concern.

14- Are you adaptable/flexible?

Employers often use behavioural questions, where interviewers ask how you handled things in the past, to assess your ability to respond to new situations efficiently and successfully.

If you prepare your jobs to experience stories well — things you’ve managed to improve or solve or help get done — you’ll present a picture of someone who does rise to the occasion without bringing their rigidity into the picture.

15- Are you high maintenance?

Some job candidates come in with complaints about having to wait too long or not being able to bring their parents (yes, really). Or they’ve called/emailed with lots of questions ahead of time. Not good.

During the interview, the way you tell a story can show if you expect way too much from others (without pitching in yourself) and see things mostly from your own point of view.

High maintenance is a big red flag.

16- Are you a problem solver?

We love these. Of course, you want to wait until you’ve gathered all the facts and are really sure there is a problem to solve.

I’ve seen people come into interviews ready to fix the company — sure that their ideas would win them the job.

Stories about how you solved problems in the workplace are very good. But trying to improve the company while you’re still in the interview process — not good.

[NOTE]: If by slim chance they do ask you how you’d improve the company, base your answer on facts you’ve gathered during your research and not conclusions you’ve jumped to.

Focus on steps you’d take to gather what you need to know. And show respect for current management/staff and what you can’t possibly know.

17- Are you a self-starter?

While companies want you to work well with management, they also want to know you won’t just twiddle your thumbs and wait to be told everything.

I always look for clues that the person can operate independently, while still respecting the management structure and coworkers.

18- Do you know who you are and what you want?

Sounds so simple.

But if your answers and stories seem to touch on too many disconnected things, you may present a picture that is too disjointed to leave an impression the employer feels solid about.

We, humans, are too complex to present ourselves fully in a single job interview. Don’t even try.

Be authentic and natural, of course.

But give them the pieces that help create that unified story we talked about earlier — one that matches the job you’re applying for.

This means taking the time beforehand to think about yourself and the job — and how the two come together as a result of your past experiences, skills, abilities, and personality.

If you know this well, then your answers will flow more naturally.

19- Do you know everything about your resume?

Some people arrive at an interview without having reviewed their resume for a long time.

And I’ve had people think for a moment when I ask them about something on their resume.

Please read it before attending the interview.

You should also read it thoroughly before preparing stories to answer interview questions.

20- Would I like to work with you daily?

Of all the things an interviewer looks to answer — once we get past “can you do the job” — this may be the most important one.

  • Are you a positive addition to the workplace?
  • Can you carry your fair share of the load?
  • Do you play well with others?
  • Will you pitch in when needed without grousing?
  • Will you be someone I can trust and rely on?

No one answer will tell us this. But when we add up all the pieces, we do our best to find that person who is a match — one whom we’d love to have to join us.

BONUS TIP-

You can ask politely about their contact information. Get the interviewer’s e-mail ID or phone number (not HR). This enables you to follow up at a later date.

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This blog was originally posted on my online home here.

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