The hiring manager uses the interview to determine whether you’d be a good fit for the job. And you know the drill, so you arrive on time, dress impeccably, and answer all of their questions intelligently.
But there are many more small details that overtly or subconsciously affect the way you’re perceived. For example, does the time of your interview affect how you’re critiqued? Are you supposed to accept that cup of coffee they offer?
Here are 13 surprising things that affect whether you land the job.
University of Toronto researchers Donald Redelmeier and Simon D. Baxter found that medical school applicants fared worse if they interviewed on a rainy day compared to their sunny day interviewees. They say:
'Overall, those interviewed on rainy days received about a 1% lower score than those interviewed on sunny days. This pattern was consistent for both senior interviewers and junior interviewers. We next used logistic regression to analyse subsequent admission decisions. The difference in scores was equivalent to about a 10% lower total mark on the Medical College Admission Test.'
The data included nearly 3,000 applicants over a six-year period.
It's not only about being competent and confident, but it's also about whether you feel powerful. Do you feel like you have the ability to influence others? If you don't, you should try holding yourself in a power pose for two minutes, before the interview, advises Harvard professor Amy Cuddy. Practice stances with your arms and elbows out and chin lifted.
According to Cuddy, this will increase your abstract thinking abilities, pain threshold, risk-tolerance, and levels of testosterone, the dominant hormone that makes you feel more confident and powerful. Feeling powerful will make you more assertive, accept criticism more gracefully, present more captivating and enthusiastic speeches, and, overall, turn you into a high performer.
You can do these poses in an elevator or even a bathroom stall. Just make sure you're alone so that you can really focus on the change in your body chemistry.
Employers want to know how you interact with others regularly, so a common tactic is to ask the receptionist about you later.
'A lot of our job candidates are from out of town, and we'll pick them up from the airport in a Zappos shuttle, give them a tour, and then they'll spend the rest of the day interviewing,' Hsieh says. 'At the end of the day of interviews, the recruiter will circle back to the shuttle driver and ask how he or she was treated. It doesn't matter how well the day of interviews went, if our shuttle driver wasn't treated well, then we won't hire that person.'
Different generations are most impressed by different values. By being aware of your interviewer's age, you can tailor your answers to what you think they're looking for, advise Molidor and Parus.
'With a little practice, you can hone in on the values that each generation holds most dear. You can shape your answer using the language of their values,' they write.
Keep everyone's attention in a panel interview by making eye contact with different people at specific times during your response, say Molidor and Parus.
'In a panel interview, always begin your response by making eye contact with the person who asked you the question. Then make random and soft eye contact with each of the other interviewers. As you finish up your response, return your eye contact to the person who asked you the question. Do not mow down the interviewers by going down the line making eye contact after the other. Soft random eye contact does the trick.'
Maybe you're capable of answering every question sent your way with flying colours, but you also need to leave on a good note by asking smart, thoughtful questions at the end.
Below are some questions from Vicky Oliver's book '301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions
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What are some of the problems your company faces right now? And what is your department doing to solve them?
What type of employee tends to succeed here? What qualities are the most important for doing well and advancing at the firm?
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