In front of them are a list of questions they’ve pre-determined to ask every candidate. They’re avoiding any traditionally inappropriate questions and working hard to get as much information as they can in 60 minutes or so. Interviewing isn’t easy. And no matter how many interviews are given on how many days for a specific job, there will always be more questions an interviewer has about you.
What are they wondering?
- Are you going to stay? Turnover is a huge problem in businesses around the country and hiring is expensive. Of course, they’re thinking “do you really want to stay in this job, or is this just a stepping stone for you?” Give them the answer. Find time to talk about wanting longevity and asking about growth within the company over time.
- Are you going to make my job easier or harder? Managing people is hard. And frankly, it sucks most of the time. They’re up, they’re down, they’re asking advice and then not taking it. So naturally, ever hiring manager wants to know if you’re going to be a top performer or a pain in the ass…or both. Help them answer this question by asking about their style as a manager, and countering their answer with a short answer about the ways you like to work with your boss.
- How are you at your worst? When someone interviews, they generally do so at their best. They look their best, they’ve practiced their answers, they’re rested and ready to rock and roll. Naturally, then, the interviewer is wondering how you are at your worst. How will you perform and act if you’re tired, cranky, and burned out at the end of the year? Help them by being honest about your work style, your weaknesses, and admitting what you need to be successful.
- Are you married? Do you have children? Technically, interviewers are allowed to ask these questions, they’re just not allowed to base their decisions on them. But most stay far far away from them in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety in the process. But in the process of interviewing, you have to let someone get to know you a little. If you are married and have kids, say so. If it costs you the job, you don’t want to work there anyway. But if it doesn’t, it might just be that you’ve allowed them to get to know you a little better.
Always ask, “What might they be thinking?” about your interviewer, and try to answer as many of their unasked questions as you can.