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What Interviewers Don't Want You to Know

Job interviews can be extremely stressful.  You do your best to prepare and then you spend an hour or so trying to convince them that you are the person that they want to hire.  The reality is that as much as you are playing a game, the employer is playing one too.  There are lots of things happening beneath the surface that can have a huge impact on whether or not you get the job.  Here are a few secrets that the employer is definitely not telling you:  
They judge you on your appearance.  Generally, the employer has formed an impression of you before you are even asked the first question.  This impression is based on your appearance and the way that you introduce yourself.  Pay close attention to the clothes that you wear to the interview.  Make sure that your outfit makes you look like you would fit in with the organizational culture and that it makes you look professional.  Spend the necessary time on personal grooming to look your absolute best.  It will make you feel more confident and it will help you make a good impression.  When you first meet the employer, smile, make eye contact and give them a firm handshake.  
Your skills are less important than your likeability.  If the employer has invited you in for an interview, they have already determined that you have the skills to do the job.  The interview process is more about determining which candidate is the best fit.  Many employers say that they would be willing to overlook the fact that a candidate is lacking a few skills if they were the right person for the job.  The key is to do your homework and to try to get a good understanding of what type of candidate the employer envisions for this role.  When you are at the interview, engage with the interviewer and try to build a rapport.  
They have already checked you out on social media.  Hiring the wrong person is an expensive mistake so employers have to do their due diligence to make sure that doesn't happen.  For this reason, most employers will look at your online presence before your interview.  Often they are trying to find the answers to the questions that they aren't allowed to ask at interviews.  Some employers will compare your resume with your LinkedIn work history to see if they can identify any inconsistencies.  You might consider doing your own scan of your online presence so that you know what potential employers are seeing.  
You could have absolutely no chance of getting this job.  In some situations, no matter how well you perform at the interview, you will never get the job.  There could be an internal candidate who is favoured for this role, or perhaps the vice president's son has applied.  Many companies have HR policies that dictate that they must interview a certain number of candidates even if they already know who they are going to hire.  Unfortunately, you can't really tell if you are a genuine candidate or just a token interview, so you always have to do your best.    
You might not hear anything for a few weeks.  Employers will often tell you that they will get back to you 'by the end of the week.'  While this might be their intention, it often doesn't happen.  This can be stressful because you are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for their call.  However, even if you are the top candidate for this job, the employer might have more pressing priorities.  Wait for a few weeks before you give up.  
As a candidate being interviewed for the job, you don't have much control over the process.  The hiring manager gets to decide who they want to hire.  Their decision may not make sense to you and it may not even seem fair but it is their decision.  The only part that is in your control is how you perform at the interview.  Beyond that, just try to learn what you can from the experience.
(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of