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What are interviewers looking for during a job interview?

30 Apr

Every job role – and therefore every interview is different, but there are some traits that hiring managers and recruiters often look for regardless of what position you’re interviewing for. Before your next job interview, consider the following to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.

Are you prepared and punctual?

The first impression you can make is through your presence and arrival time. Time-management skills are key to productivity in the workplace and one of the first capabilities you can demonstrate while interviewing. Are you punctual and ready before the hiring manager comes to greet you or are they having to wait for you to show up? Being punctual not only showcases your time-management skills but also how keen you are for the role and how much you value the interview. If something comes up and you run late, however, don’t panic: Simply phone your interviewer or recruiter and let them know what’s going on.

Do you understand what the company does?

Having knowledge of the company you’re interviewing for is a great way to show you’re prepared for the job. As 47% of interviewers say they wouldn’t hire a candidate who doesn’t display enough knowledge of the company, it’s a good idea to do some research before the big day.

Conducting research into the company and company culture can help you determine if you align with the company’s visions and are the right match for the job. Look at the company’s website, their social media profiles and any mentions of them in the news recently to help build your knowledge base.  

Are you engaged during the interview?

Interviews are a delicate balance between active listening and communicating confidently. Try to portray both skills during the interview process.

Great ways of actively listening include not interrupting the interviewer, maintaining eye-contact, nodding, repeating certain phrases back to them, taking notes when appropriate and recalling information that was mentioned by them during your answers. Active listening shows you are present and engaged with the interview at hand.

To communicate confidently, keep your answers concise, answering only the question asked and supporting your CV with practical examples. In addition, you can ask the interviewer questions about them, the company and the job to demonstrate your interest and ability to research your own questions.

Are you presenting yourself in line with the company culture?

The interviewer is looking to see if you would align well with the company culture. Consider this when you’re preparing for your interview, particularly when it comes to how you present yourself. If they are a more laid-back start-up, then it’s good to choose smart-casual attire. If they are more corporate, consider dressing in a more professional manner.

All hiring managers wish to see a friendly candidate who can fit in with the work culture. Try to appear friendly and professional, with a positive attitude and willingness to get involved in team activities and solo tasks.

What can you bring to the role and company?

Hiring managers want to know what skills, experiences and knowledge you possess that will allow you to excel in the role and fit with the company. You can stand apart from other candidates by showcasing your knowledge of the company’s goals and enthusiasm and alignment with the role. Learn the job specification and cater your answers to mention these skills which are necessary to the role you’re applying for.

You can also express your passion for this industry through previous experience in the field, or your additional research around the topic. Practise your answer to this question beforehand as it’s likely to come up, and even if it doesn’t, it’s a good self-reflection task that will allow you to interweave these snippets throughout your interview.

You may want to assess potential weaknesses in your application to prepare for any questions that may come up — these include CV gaps, career changes or circumstances around a termination. Being able to diplomatically articulate reasonable explanations can go a long way to improve your chances of being hired. Remember not to bad-mouth previous employers during your justifications as hiring managers may be put off by this. Instead, cultivate a sensation of positivity and express why the company you’re applying to is the right fit for you.

What are you waiting for?

At Travis Perkins, we offer a variety of exciting roles for you to work in. Learn what it’s like to work at Travis Perkins by reading our blog and advance your career by applying for jobs with us today.

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