• Akansha Srivastava

What do Interviewers Look For?

In our previous blog on “Interview Preparation Tips for Campus Placement,” we gave some essential tips about what students must prepare while appearing for their internship as well as final placement interviews. Today, we go across to the other side of the table to look at interviews from the interviewer’s perspective. What do interviewers look for in a prospective candidate? The answer to this question will serve as a cue for students to prepare for the D-day. Typically, recruiters will see these three aspects of a candidate while conducting interviews:

1. Ability of the candidate

Interviewers have multiple ways of assessing whether you would be able to do the job for which they are hiring. Some of the reference points and tools used by recruiters are:

(a) Resume: Recruiters typically want to see a detailed and structured resume that aligns with the job requirements. Most recruiters will receive a vast pool of resumes, and they often do not have time to go through all of them. They often filter out a resume based on specific keywords required for the job role, either by using a software or by skimming manually. Therefore, candidates must highlight the words/phrases that maximize the chances of their resume getting shortlisted.

(b) Direct Questions: Recruiters often assess the candidate’s abilities by asking direct questions related to the technical knowledge and know-how required for the job.

(c) Indirect Questions: Another way for recruiters to find out whether a candidate can do the job is by posing indirect questions like “Do you have any experience in area X?” or situational questions like “Tell me a time when you handled/resolved a problem Y”.

Therefore, candidates must leave no stone unturned in their preparation on all the above three aspects.

2. Willingness of the candidate

Employers want to understand how motivated you are to perform the responsibilities on the job and the organization. A simple way to assess a candidate’s motivation is to ask, “Why do you want this job?” or “Why do you want to work for this company?”. Even the quintessential question of recruiters - “Tell me about yourself?” can unearth the underlying motivations of the candidate.

3. Fitment of the Candidate

Employers determine fitment based on two aspects:

(a) Cultural fit: A candidate may be the most skilled to do the job. He may even be highly motivated. But if a candidate’s values, beliefs, and personality fail to align with the culture of the organization, the candidate is sure to be rejected. Cultural fitment is now one of the critical factors for recruitment in most organizations. A great way to know the culture of an organization is to talk to an employee of that organization. Another way is to hear some of the companies C-suite executives speak about the organization in interviews or literature.

(b) People-Organization fit: Recruiters will not want to hire someone who won’t get along with his/her co-workers. Employers use the following techniques to assess organizational fitment:

  • Psychometric assessment: Allows a recruiter to measure a candidate’s fitment for the organization based on his/her personality traits and cognitive abilities required. Some of the popular ones are MBTI and Caliper.

  • Behavioral questions: Such as “Tell me a time when your colleagues disagreed with your ideas? What did you do?” or “How did you handle conflict among your team members?” can also serve the purpose.

  • Behavioral assessment: Understanding a person’s behavioral style allows a recruiter to evaluate their fit for the job role and how they would communicate with others in the organization. Some of the popular ones are Wonderlic, IBM Kenexa, DiSC Profiling, Thomas Profiling.

Some bit of research at your end can give you a fair idea about the behavioral assessment tools used by the companies to which you intend to apply. Having an idea of the assessment or going through the evaluation beforehand will help you navigate faster through the questions that come up in these assessments.

Apart from the above three aspects to a candidate, recruiters also see softer issues such as clear articulation skills, grooming, and body language. We recommend that a candidate must introspect and prepare thoroughly on all these fronts to bag his/her dream job!

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