The most important thing interviewers are looking for in job interviews.

They just want you to be real.

Sometimes you get candidates who you can tell just live and breathe the world you work in. They have an opinion on tabs vs spaces, they know about the latest news in the industry, and you can just sort of tell that this is something they care about.

Then, you have those who have the prepared answers, the ones who say things like “I’m passionate about creating synergistic solutions to strategic business asset evaluations” or some other corporate speak – they’ve read the company values and are parroting them it back to you. You can spent a whole hour with them and still feel like you don’t know the real person.

In short, they aren’t being genuine, they are saying what they think you want to hear.

I can already hear the people itching to comment along the lines of “but no one cares that much about a retail job, they just need the money”.

The thing is, the best candidates – the ones employers really want to hire – they do care – they have an opinion about restocking shelves, stock rotation, the best way to setup endcaps etc. Thats what makes them good candidates.

The truth is, an interviewer is trying to figure out three things:

  • Are you a nice person who I’d like to work with each day
  • Can you do the things you say you can do on your resume
  • And can you do it with some enthusiasm.

Thats it really.

Also, be nice to the receptionist.

In almost every interview situation I’ll ask the receptionist who they liked best, and its always the same candidate we chose. Almost makes you wonder if interviews are worth the bother!