Enthusiastic candidates help the process by doing research on the company they're applying to. They know what challenges/areas the organization currently deals with. They've also looked at the job description in detail, and know the skills, requirements, and competencies that the position requires. Above all else, smart candidates realize that they are in the interview process from the moment they're contacted to the time they arrive for the interview. In fact, clever HR pros will get feedback from the receptionist.
You know an interview is going well when the interviewer shows a genuine interest in the candidate, makes the candidate feel at ease, clearly explains the process, gives the candidate time to ponder the question, listens to what the candidate says, and picks up on and probes for relevant, job-related information.
The kinds of questions that are - and aren't - asked are also a key sign. "Typical" questions like "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" are not the best ones. Behavioral-based questions related to the competencies of the job are more relevant. After all, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.
Alison Larkan is HR director at G.S. Schwartz & Co.
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