There are definite signs and signals that every interviewer will spot to enable them to understand how much the interviewee prepared for the big day. These signs are easy to pick out for interviewers regardless of their level of experience. Here are a few of the things I noticed when interviewing people as a recruitment consultant and as a hiring manager. And if you’re guilty of any of these giveaway signs, you can contact me to talk more about your interview strategy
Occasional Ums and Ahhs
Your answers are not fluent and structured, and in fact, you begin to “um” and “ah” as you deliver your response. This is a big sign that you didn’t prepare and that you are really thinking on your feet. And your body language will be be a big give away because you’ll often have a very pensive look on your face, and your eyes may be inclined to the top left looking to the ceiling which is a sign that you’re trying to trawl your memory for the answer.
You’ll be low on confidence and it’ll show
Your body language is withdrawn and closed, and you don’t appear confident. You probably don’t project your voice, because it’s clear that you’re not confident in what you’re saying. I mentioned in a previous article that confidence is key to your success at interview, so beware of that. Showing a lack of confidence is a big giveaway when it comes to interviewers assessing how well you have prepared.
Long winded and unstructured answers
The best interviewees give structured, clear, and concise answers to questions, and this is a big indicator that they have prepared their answers in advance. If your answer is convoluted and goes off in different directions, not to mention it takes a long time for you to deliver your response, then it’s a clear indicator that you have not prepared properly.
You talk a lot but don’t demonstrate interest..
It’s highly likely that you’re going to get asked questions about the business and the services or products that are on offer. Even if you don’t get asked a direct question, you’ll be expected to deliver information that shows that you’re interested in the business and understand its products and services. If your answers and responses make little or no reference to the business and services, then the interviewer would assume that you don’t know enough information or that you are not engaged with what the business is doing. Again, they’ll draw the conclusion that you have not prepared sufficiently.
You don’t have any questions prepared
The worst thing any interviewee can do when asked, “Have you got any questions?” is to respond with a “no”. That is unless you’ve asked a number of questions throughout the interview, but if that’s not the case, then you need to prepare at least six questions, two that relate to the business, two that relate to the team and people, and two that relate to the business’ area of expertise and industry. Don’t just prepare questions for the sake of it, really think about the type of question and the reason you need to ask that particular question.
You arrive late
You should only arrive late if there is some sort of extenuating circumstance that could be not avoided, and was totally out of your control, but for the most part, arriving late is an absolute no-no and is sometimes as is arriving just on time. Arriving late or just on time can be perceived as a lack of preparation on your part, because the interviewer will assume that you have not planned your journey correctly.
You regularly refer to and look at your CV when answering questions
Another obvious sign of a lack of preparation is when an interviewee constantly has to refer to their CV and scan the pages during the interview. This shows a lack of understanding and dedication to your own career, because nobody should know their career better than you. By the time you get to interview, you should know the key highlights that you need to present in order to demonstrate that there is a synergy between yourself and the role in question. In all honesty, you should not even need to have a physical copy of your CV at the interview. In fact, you should commit each important component, achievement, highlight to memory, and present it to the interviewers.
Your answers don’t address the key concerns of the interviewer
I was speaking to a senior manager the other day. He just come out of an interview and was providing feedback on his performance. From what he told me, I could immediately gauge how well he had done. In fact, I knew he’d missed one of the key components and requirements when delivering his answers to the interviewers. You see, the role required that he was able to manage a team, and at no point in the interview had he made reference to his management and leadership capabilities. When I asked him why, he said the reason he had not mentioned it was because the interviewer had not asked him about it.
Now that’s a poor excuse given that it is our responsibility as interviewees to volunteer information and present details of our career that reflect the role for which we are interviewing for. In so doing, we are addressing the interviewer’s concerns on our ability to do the job. The message here is even if the interviewer does not ask you a direct question about a particular aspect of the role, you need to find a way to include it in your conversation.
I want you to identify and write down the key concerns that are apparent for your up and coming interview/s and then think about how you can provide answers and responses that illustrate that you are the solution.