We’ve all read the articles and heard about what employers may be paying attention to during the interview process. Body language, being on time, dress code, preparation for those more difficult questions, research of the company background. But what should you, the job seeker, be paying attention to during the interview process?
It depends on what you’re looking for in this new potential job. Here are some observations that can help you determine if this job is the right fit for you.
Setting. The first aspect of this company you’re going to notice when walking into the job interview is the setting. Check out the floor plan. Is it open or closed? Updated or outdated? Do you notice any decorum? The way a company personalizes its space can say a lot about what they value in terms of technology, art, open space, and closed space. Would you feel comfortable working in this space?
Pace. After you take in the setting, notice if employees are rushing around or more laid back. If you enjoy a faster-paced environment, you might like to see employees completing their tasks at a quicker pace. If you’re looking for a slower-paced environment, see if employees look calm and collected.
Employee relationships. Do the employees look happy? Are they engaging in friendly interactions? Do they seem comfortable with each other? Observing how supervisors interact with employees and how employees interact with each other can give you a good understanding of how you will interact with others at this company. Non-verbal cues like leaning forward, making eye contact, nodding, open palms, sitting or standing upright, and the mirroring of movements between employees can be great indicators to how employees interact with each other.
Body language. Speaking of non-verbal cues, body language can tell you a lot about the interviewer. When you’re being interviewed, you want to note if the HR representative or manager asking you questions is welcoming or closed off. Are they facing you as they ask you questions, or is their body more turned to the side? Do they have their arms crossed or open? Are they smiling or nodding as you answer questions? Take those positive non-verbal reactions with grace and do not be dejected if the interviewer is closed off or does not smile at you. This could be an indication of the kind of interactions employees have with each other, and that might not be what you’re looking for at a new place of employment.
Questions, questions, questions. You’re going to be asked questions in any job interview. Most interviews I’ve had contain the question, “Why do you want to work for this company?” That’s standard. But pay attention to see if there are questions with depth. Are these questions thoughtful? Does the interviewer want to know more about what you can bring to the table? Are you able to share personal anecdotes and do you feel you’re being seen and heard from their reactions?
Dress code. Look at what the employees are wearing. Is this dress code sustainable for you or will you have to reinvent your whole wardrobe? Don’t worry if you have to buy a few new articles of clothing, just pay attention to the workplace culture during the interview and ask yourself if the way these employees present themselves aligns with how you want to present yourself professionally.
Making these observations can give you some insight into whether this company is the right fit for you.
This article was written by Michaela Coll.
Michaela Coll is writer, editor, and consultant. During her free time, Michaela likes to write poetry, blog posts, and creative short stories, some of which you can find on her Linktree. When she’s not writing or reading, you can find her snuggled up with her cats or dogs.