What Do Interviewers Really Look For?

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Interview for work

Job description? Check. Budget approval? Check. Now the fun part begins, the interview process. Just think, that new hire could potentially be the team's new rock star -- the catalyst for improved productivity, efficiency, not to mention, better team energy. Could that rock star be you?

But, wait. Let's take a step back. What qualities are interviewers looking for?

Having hired many employees and freelancers over the years, I've had some incredibly high (and low) moments during the interview process. Regardless of industry, there are some universal truths about what interviewers are really looking for. (Hint: It's more than just a polished resume.)

The first thing: Are you excited to work for this company? Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, I need to feel and see that you are curious, knowledgeable, and, yes, excited about working for this company. Did you do some research about the company? Better yet, did you do some research and come with some well thought out questions about the company?

Interviewers really love this. It shows initiative, commitment, and engagement. Qualities this new employee will hopefully bring to all of her work projects. Also remember that even if I hire someone else for the current position, if you stand out for having the afore-mentioned qualities, I will probably remember you when another opportunity comes up in the future.

The second thing: Body language. Yes, it's been talked about over and over, and there's a reason. It's important. Period. Eye contact, how you sit, your posture, how you shake hands, all of this matters. Maybe you're nervous? Say so. That can be an ice breaker. It shows your realness and can be the start of a dialogue about who you are. And speaking of who you are, brings us to ...

The third thing: How you tell your story. I'd love to have three hours to discuss what's been meaningful to you in your work history and personal life. Really, I would. Sadly, that is a rare luxury. You have a limited amount of time. It's in your best interest to maximize this time when we start to discuss your employment history and why you think you're the right person for the job. Some people have a hard time tooting their own horn, but toot you must.

Yes, there are people who go on and on about what they've done and it can be painful. Better approach is to spend some time not only thinking about your accomplishments but also a few of your character traits that make you the right person for the job. It's not bragging when you are genuine and speak from the heart. Trust me, it really comes through.
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