Many job seekers would love to know what their interviewers were saying about them after they leave the room. While you may never know precisely what is said, there are certain conversation points that are surprisingly common. And, no, they don’t involve trash-talking the applicant.
Typically, these discussions focus on the merits and weakness of each particular candidate and are used to help decide which job seekers are moving forward or being offered a position. But understanding some of what is usually said can help you become a stronger candidate in the future. With that in mind, here are some common talking points your interviewers may be covering.
They Were Okay
The most common statement that is likely made after the applicant has left is that they were fine, but not necessarily a great fit. Typically, this happens when the candidate meets the basic qualifications for the position but doesn’t quite reach the bar the hiring manager was hoping to hit.
Interviewers usually want to find a candidate that truly shines and not every job seeker is going to hit that mark. Sometimes this can happen when a job seeker isn’t great at describing the breadth of their knowledge in person, leaving the hiring manager to believe they don’t have what the company is hoping to find. In others, it just becomes apparent that the person isn’t as good of a fit as they were searching for, and there’s little to be done about that.
Pros and Cons
Another common discussion will usually take place when an applicant does stand out in some areas but is lacking in others. For example, they may have exactly what the hiring manager wants to find for skill A, but not have enough experience in skill B.
Often, it can be hard to discern someone’s actual skill level from a resume alone (hence the need for interviews) and hiring managers will many times discover a candidate that appeared to have it all on paper doesn’t quite measure up in one specific area or another.
While it can be frustrating to be rejected for this reason, it doesn’t mean the candidate did anything wrong. However, the employer may share which areas would need to be advanced so that the job seeker can qualify in the future, and that can be very helpful for shaping one’s career.
Sometimes an interviewer will have trouble getting a strong picture of what the candidate has to offer in a particular area. Generally, if there is time permitting, the hiring manager may try to ask additional questions on the subject during the interview, but sometimes the meeting ends before that can be accomplished. However, it can also happen where the interviewer wasn’t fully aware that they didn’t have all of the information they needed until the interview was over.
When hiring managers have trouble getting a sense of a particular skill or trait, they’ll choose to have a follow-up conversation with the candidate. But, if there is a pool of qualified applicants, they’ll normally just move on.
Luckily, there are things you can do to help avoid this situation. Practice your responses to frequently used interview questions so that your answer is both concise and thorough, and touches on the major requirements as listed in the job posting. If an interviewer begins asking additional questions about your answer, assume they are having trouble getting a complete picture of what you have to offer and work to elaborate on your response to provide them with additional clarity.
In the end, once your meeting is over, interviewers are just trying to determine if you are the right person for the job, so they discuss your skills and traits to see if you are the ideal person for the role. They are working hard to find the right candidate, so make sure you prepare for your interview so that you can make the best impression possible, and increase the odds that the post-interview discussion will be a definitive, “that’s the one.”