weiss_roessler_recruiterAt one point or another, we’ve all been on the lonelier side of the interview table, our work experience all crammed onto a resume that didn’t really look quite the way we wanted, worrying if the cover letter was too pushy, or even correctly addressed.

But what about the other side of the table? Have you ever considered the job hunt from the recruiter or interviewer’s perspective?

All kinds of industries use recruiters to fill positions, from business and finance to government, military, marketing, and advertising. And if you’ve worked as a recruiter yourself, you know what it’s like to have to ask the tough questions to prospective candidates, be on your game just as much as they are, and make sure you do a good job of vetting all prospects to find the right fit for the opening.

Here are just a few things that recruiters are thinking about as they’re going through the process. Understanding where they’re coming from can help you put your best foot forward.

They’ll dig deep to ensure you’re the right fit. While this is especially true for higher level and more creative positions, the glut of candidates looking for work means that companies can be particularly choosy right now. This means that good interviewers work to go beyond the typical questions that everyone expects and tries to get candidates to really delve into the work they’ve done to search for signs that they can think on their feet, take rejection, and work well within a group.

They’re being interviewed, too. Most recruiters understand that the candidate is often doing just as much interviewing as they are. They’re conscious of this two-way exchange, and they’re actually on the look-out for signs that you’re really interested in the job.

For example, a good candidate will often take the interview as an opportunity to learn more about the company and the position they’re interviewing for. Otherwise, it could be a sign that you’re not really interested or unprepared.

They want to keep it conversational. Everyone knows that interviews can be scary – after all, the interviewee is essentially trying to sell him- or herself so they get hired. Lots of people – even very good candidates – can get really nervous, which is why a good recruiter wants to strive to make the interview a “conversation, not an interrogation.”

Not only will recruiters who do this make the qualified candidates feel valued and respected early on, but keeping it more casual may also help them weed out the too-cavalier and presumptuous prospects (and obviously recruiters want to do their best to avoid hiring the latter type of applicant). So take heart in the fact that the recruiter wants to make you feel relaxed, but don’t let it may you feel too comfortable.

They’ve chosen each question for a reason. Recruiters want to ensure the questions they’re asking will return valuable, relevant information on the interviewee that pertains specifically to the company and the position.

So if a recruiter is reviewing some candidates for a Sales Manager position, questions about skill with resolving computer issues should take up very little—if any—of your talking time, while queries designed to see how they work with people and learn about their past sales successes are very important. If you notice multiple questions about a particular skill or personality trait, make sure you’re emphasizing it in responses to other questions also.

Whether you’re the interviewer or the interviewee, it’s important to keep the perspective of the person across the table in mind. By considering their interests as well as your own, you’re more likely to have a successful and informative interview.

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