Inside Your Interviewer's Head

Do you find yourself wondering what your interviewer is thinking of while they’re grilling you?
The gradsingapore Team
Nurhuda Syed
Editor, gradsingapore
Inside Your Interviewer's Head_featuredimg

If you think that you’re the only one under pressure in the interview room, you’re very wrong. Interviews, despite what some may think, are really two-way streets. Interviewees need to acquaint themselves with the organisation, while interviewers are tasked to analyse the candidate to see if they’ll be a good fit for the company in terms of interest, skills and even personality. If the interviewers fail in this, they’ll likely have to go through the hiring process again and look for another suitable candidate.

While they’re determining a candidate’s suitability, interviewers asked themselves questions like “Is this candidate a good fit for the company?” and “Will the job keep this applicant interested in the long term?”.

Read on for a comprehensive list of questions interviewers often ponder and what you can do to answer them successfully!


Question: Is the candidate really interested in the job?

Recruiters want to avoid onboarding someone who isn’t keen on the job. Disinterested employees tend to leave after a few months, or even pull out of the offer at the last minute. On top of that, unhappy employees often add little to the organisation.

Reassure recruiters by showing genuine interest by asking about day-to-day tasks, seeking clarification in anything you missed and reiterating what the interviewer says in your own words to show your understanding. You can also talk about how this job role matches your aspirations, career plans and relevant interests.

Inside Your Interviewer's Head 01_Is the candidate really interested in the job


Question: Does the candidate have the basic skills?

Hiring someone requires time, money and resources, from marketing a job opening and assessing applicants, to training a fresh graduate to the standards of the company. In other words, the greater your skill set when you first apply to the organisation, the more appealing you’ll be to managers and recruiters.

During the interview, discuss good transferable skills, like commercial awareness, and demonstrate specific examples of the skills required for the job role from previous experiences, if any. There’s no need to panic if you don’t have all the skills needed too! Recruiters don't expect you to join as a fully-developed employee, even if you’re some sort of genius. What they do want to see, however, is potential and a willingness to learn quickly.

Inside Your Interviewer's Head 02_Does the candidate have the basic skills


Question: Can the candidate bring anything new to my organisation?

Recruiters usually consider the skills, interests and knowledge that current employees have, and one of the decision-making factors is whether or not you can fill a skills gap.

To answer this question, show that you can bring the skills and qualities that the job description states! Even if you’re not asked straight out, find some way to bring it up during the interview. A good time for this is near the end of the session, when interviewers normally offer a chance for you to share additional information.

Inside Your Interviewer's Head 03_Can the candidate bring anything new to my organisation


Question: How well will this candidate get along with colleagues and clients?

No recruiter wants to hire someone whom they suspect may disrupt, upset, or ruin relationships between colleagues or clients!

To combat your interviewer’s worries, stay polite and positive. Most importantly, listen actively. Take an interest in what other job roles or people there are in the organisation, and ask after the people you might end up working with, or how your role supports them in their tasks. If the position requires direct interaction with clients, enquire about the kinds of services or support you’ll be expected to render.

Inside Your Interviewer's Head 04_How well will this candidate get along with colleagues and clients


Question: Does the candidate have other interviews or job offers lined up?

Remember: recruiters are also competing with other organisations. Because of this, interviewers will want to know if you’re looking at other companies so that they can extend an offer before someone else does.

Don’t lie about other opportunities you may or may not have during your interview, and let your interviewer know if you’ve applied for other jobs. But if you've already accepted a job offer, don’t keep scheduling interviews! This is a highly unethical practice that may lead other companies to write you off on the spot.

Inside Your Interviewer's Head 05_Does the candidate have other interviews or job offers lined up


Question: How do I feel about this candidate? Is he or she lying or behaving strangely?

Experienced recruiters typically rely on their experience and instincts, and will raise concerns if something doesn’t feel quite “right” during an interview.

The best way to reassure your recruiter is to be honest. If you don’t know an answer to a question, admit it instead of winging it. In the same vein, if you feel may not have a particular skill that the role requires, be open with your interviewer. In addition, if you happen to have any mitigating circumstances on the day itself or suddenly fall ill, bring it up to the interviewer right at the start.

Inside Your Interviewer's Head 06_How do I feel about this candidate Is he or she lying or behaving strangely


Additional tips

Interviewers often leave verbal and non-verbal clues all over an interview, so talk with your interviewers and glean useful scraps on their feelings and dealings on the company. This will inform you on how working in the organisation is like. Learning about stuff like this will help you to get a sense of whether you can fit in, and would also give you a headstart if you’re offered the job!

Inside Your Interviewer's Head 07_Additional tips