Two Ways to Help You Think Like an Interviewer

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For job seekers, the hiring process seems like a mystery. In many cases, the confusion and uncertainty of a job interview drives otherwise excellent candidates to present themselves in unprofessional or inaccurate ways. By learning how to think like an interviewer, you calm your nerves and prepare more effectively.

When an employer conducts a job interview, she does so with a massive amount of institutional knowledge. Each question she asks is loaded with an understanding of current company requirements, future goals and past experiences. If she asks about your experience with advertising, for example, she might be thinking about a new campaign the company is launching or a past employee who squandered the promotional budget.

The single best way to think like an interviewer is to research the company. Before the job interview, read everything you can find in the press, in company presentations and on social media websites. Look for mentions of upcoming projects, past crises and hints about company culture. The more background knowledge you can gather, the better. Take it a step further and meet current and past employees. Even an offhand comment can speak volumes about the company and its current situation.

During the job interview, use that information to calm the employer's unspoken fears and instill confidence in your abilities. If you learn that the company narrowly avoided a privacy scandal, for example, mention your experience with data security and social media policies. By framing your experience in a way that answers the interviewer's unspoken questions, you automatically set yourself apart from other candidates.

When you walk into a job interview, it is likely that you are experiencing a heady and terrifying mix of fear, excitement and hope. Your emotions color the experience, transforming it into a memorable event. The employer, on the other hand, is more likely to be bored, particularly if your interview falls near the end of the hiring process.

An easy way to help you think like an interviewer is to put yourself in her shoes. Consider that she has probably interviewed at least 10 other people, if not more. The candidates are likely to be blurring together in her memory.

Though this situation seems bleak, it is actually an excellent opportunity to shine. Make an effort to put your nerves aside and let your personality shine through; your individuality makes you stand out long after the interview is done. Do not be afraid to ask thoughtful questions and show your enthusiasm for the position. If you can do it without being unprofessional, add a bit of humor into your answers. Do not fall prey to the pressure to be perfect. Doing so puts you on guard and make you sound robotic – and leaves the employer bored and uninspired. After all, the interviewer is looking for someone who is pleasant to work with, day in and day out. Your end goal, in addition to showcasing your qualifications, is to leave the interviewer thinking, "I liked him!"

Though a job interview is a nerve-wracking experience, thinking like the interviewer can be a calming strategy. In doing so, you expand your thinking and gain a new perspective that helps you gain an edge on the competition.


(Photo courtesy of Ambro /


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