How to Interview Well by Understanding the Interviewer

InterviewerSee that person across the desk? That person will decide whether or not you get the job. It comes down to how well you interview and how effectively you addressed the points that the interviewer cares about.  So, what points does that interviewer care about?


In this article, I will uncover their goals, questions and fears. I will also cover some tactics to address these areas.



At the most fundamental level, the interviewer wants to know whether you have the ability to do what needs to get done. Are you smart enough and efficient enough to solve the problems your position faces?


The fear is that you can’t be trusted to perform and will require constant attention to get results.



You likely won’t walk into a new job with every skill you need. Can you grow into the position? How well can you adapt if the situation changes?

The fear is that you won’t be able to learn quickly enough and cost the organization time and resources in training and retraining you.


True interest in the job

The most productive and happiest employees are those that enjoy doing their job.  These are people whose job doesn’t even feel like work – at least some of the time. What needs to be discovered in the interview question is, are you one of these people?


The fear is that you are only there to earn a paycheck and will do the bare minimum to stay employed.

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Enthusiasm for the organization

Many job seekers walk into their interviews without understanding what the organization does. That lack of understanding shows the candidate doesn’t have a true passion for the work of the organization. Further, this person may not understand the culture and realize what factors make people happy work there.


The fear is that you will not see eye-to-eye with employees on key issues, and that you will be unhappy because you don’t align to the organizations mission. As a result, you could hinder their productivity as well as your own.


Expertise and background

Job success depends on both ability and skills.  Do you have the technical skills and experience required? Does your resume accurately portray how well you know these critical skills?


The fear is that your words oversold your ability to perform and that this ruse will be expensive to discover. Worse, the hiring manager will personally be on the hook for not identifying these deficits during the job interview.


Personal Interests

Do you have a life outside of work? Are your interests similar to the people who work there? Or can you relate to one another on a personal basis?


The fear is that you will not be someone with whom the hiring manager and co-worker would enjoy spending 40+ hours per week in close proximity.


Recognition of Authority

Every organization possesses a hierarchy, even if that hierarchy changes from one project to the next.  When someone asks you to do something, will you perform?


The fear is that you will act out in some way that hinders the flow of work.


Independent decision-making

When speaking with hiring managers, one of their most common frustrations is employees who can’t make decisions. They are desperate for team members who can take initiative and solve problems.


The fear is that without this ability to make decisions, you will be a weight around their neck, someone who is too “high maintenance.”


How to use this information to interview well

To make sure that you don’t miss out on your next job opportunity, be ready with answers to address each of the above areas. Know how to explain both your core abilities and your capacity to learn and adapt. Understand the job and the organization so that you can communicate exactly why you are excited about this position. Identify activities that you enjoy outside of work that relate well with other employees.  Give proof of your expertise and knowledge to make it clear that you are the real deal. Finally, be ready with examples that demonstrate your initiative.


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