5 Questions Hiring Managers Think During Interviews (But Might Not Ask)
Interviews are an inseparable part of job hunting and even though they may seem frightening at first, they also might represent a phase that is important for both the interviewee and the hiring manager.
The interviewing manager treads the path of carefully trying to analyze not only your work ethics and work experience, but also trying to analyze you as a person and your characteristics related to non-working parts of your life.
As in every interview, the questions that the manager may have are the main focus, at least in the head of one who is about to be interviewed.
The difficulty of the questions may vary, but the interview would usually start with an ice-breaker question which is supposed to relax you before continuing on to a more business-related set of questions.
You need to stay relaxed and maintain a professional look when answering those questions as the non-verbal communication and your posture show a lot about you.
However, no matter how difficult the questions are, or how successfully or unsuccessfully you answer the questions thrown at you by the interviewer, some interviewees after the “talk” always think of “what could have happened” in terms of the questions and the answers alike. “Could he have asked something else? I wonder what he was thinking while asking those particular questions”.
Believe it or not, there are some questions that go through the managers’ heads in an interview but they choose not to ask them.
Keep reading and you will surely find out a few of these questions that they sometimes consciously dodge.
WATCH OUT FOR THE NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION
No matter how silly these questions might sound, from the moment you enter the room, your moves, your posture, the way your hands are positioned on the table, everything that you do is telling the interviewer something about you.
You are answering some of the questions already just by sitting there and thinking about the answer. Even those silly questions have a purpose and in a way tell something about you.
When answering the questions you should be truthful and honest, but that is something that is difficult to learn.
If you are the right person for the job, the interviewer will probably see that through the answers you provide. It doesn’t matter if the answers are verbal or non-verbal.
We all know the importance of body language in our daily communication.
Some questions may even be posed with the very purpose of provoking your facial reaction or such.
If you focus too hard on the verbal answers, your movements may give you away so thread carefully.
And now for the questions:
There is a gap in your resume. What happened during that period?
Although a perfectly legitimate question to be asked, some managers out of respect of others’ privacy choose to avoid the question altogether.
This question can actually show the manager whether the potential worker was between jobs for a longer period, which further shows whether they are potentially lazy or easy to lose motivation.
Those two aren’t exactly the traits that scream “proficient worker” if you get the drift, so it’s best to watch out for those CV gaps.
On the other hand, some personal tragedy might have happened in the life of the candidate so prodding into it might be awkward and maybe trigger an unpleasant response from the interviewee.
Defusing that kind of a situation might take longer than intended and it may become downright unpleasant so interviewers steer clear of those kinds of questions.
Many managers are interested in other jobs not out of curiosity but because of the clues they might get about you judging from these gaps in resumes.
Have that in mind before going to the interview, have a ready answer for every question they might ask and it will be impossible for you to be surprised by them.
You can’t depend on the assumption that all interviewers will avoid unpleasant questions.
Some interviewers have the audacity to go straight for the unpleasant.
That way they can get the idea of how good are you when working under pressure.
All in all, it is a really underrated question that you must expect and for which you must have a ready answer.
Did you quit your last job or did you get fired?
The ultimate question that shows a lot about the person questioned.
It is rarely in life like in the movies where a worker does not approve of ethics of his job and quits a second before their boss fires them.
This question is an important step in knowing that the person applying for the job is someone who can do the job meticulously and well.
The interviewer might assume you have done something so severe that warrants a job termination, meaning that the new worker might not take the job seriously and get fired again.
If the worker had quit instead, that might mean they did not like the work environment, again meaning that for them to provide the best results, they must be completely satisfied with the terms and conditions of the work.
Some might regard this question as an invasion of their privacy, much like the previous one, but again this question says a lot about you, and most of the interviewers glance over it.
An extremely underrated question that many interviewers avoid asking, however, it helps the analysis a great deal.
Even if the interviewer doesn’t ask this question, he/she is bound to think it.
As always, it’s best to prepare an answer for the possible scenario of them poking around.
After all, you must understand that, although it sounds a bit totalitarian, every institution/company rests upon a hierarchy and to maintain that hierarchy it’s of crucial importance to rule out any and all potential rebels. At least that’s how most of the hiring managers think.
Why did you quit/get fired (from) your last job?
This one can be seen as an extension of the last question.
If the interviewee feels free to talk about the reason for the termination of their last job, the interviewer can assess their work characteristics better by asking this simple follow up question.
The interviewer can easily conclude that you are either a team player or a lone wolf if you were fired for not working well with others.
You can be seen as an ambitious hard worker if you quit because you have had enough being in a dead-end position.
Then again, you can be seen as a lazy worker who wants everything to be served on a silver platter if you have been fired for not finishing your work assignments on time or waiting until the last hour to finish the assignments.
Some interviewers, even if they ask the previous question, just plainly feel bad for asking these follow up questions as they can really be too intrusive.
The more responsibility a job position carries, the more information an interviewer would ask of you.
This question would be of real importance for a job applicant who might be burdened with a great workload and responsibilities so that the interviewer can assess whether they are the real person for the job.
It is a great follow up question to the previous one, and as previously established, it really helps the manager paint a mental picture of your advantages or disadvantages or how difficult jumping a hurdle all of a sudden can become for you.
Why don’t you maintain eye contact? Are you hiding something?
This question is possibly the most common question the interviewer thinks about but does not ask. Not asking this one doesn’t only come from the question being unpleasant.
The interviewer here has the chance of analyzing the interviewee without being noticed. It’s an upper hand that’s not wise to lose by directing the interviewee’s attention to it.
Maintaining an eye contact sure is important in the business world: it shows respect, it makes you radiate with self-confidence, and you may show that you have a dominant personality.
It is a technique that is most known in the business world, although it has its roots in our basic primal nature.
However, for a job interview, the question can come off as too confrontational.
Some people have anxiety coupled with the fact that they are in a room getting interviewed for a job they really want, it could just reinforce their anxiety which only increases it.
Of course, you do not really need to just stare down the interviewer, it is not a contest, just the important thing to remember is to occasionally maintain eye contact, break the contact sometimes just so you do not look like a crazy person, but to look the interviewer in the eyes when answering questions, and when thinking about your answer that is the point where one should break eye contact.
There you go, we just provided you with a piece of advice on how to make interviewer not ask you this question!
There are some cases in which the interviewer has problems maintaining eye contact, that could be a possible reason why they skip the question, but the ones who do not, usually notice it right away and definitely wonder about the reason you do not make eye contact.
What are your personal weaknesses?
The only way of interviewer getting to know the answer to this one is not to ask it! It might be wise to ask it only after they’ve assessed your weaknesses on their own.
Another interesting question that gets overlooked a lot.
In addition to showing your interviewer what you consider to be a weakness, it also can be an eye-opening question to you.
Maybe you never thought about it, maybe you thought that you do not have any weaknesses, maybe the interviewer over the course of the interview noticed some mild things about you that can be considered weaknesses.
The biggest problem, however, is the question of what is universally considered to be a weakness? Being a team player can be considered a weakness.
You may care for others more than you care for your own self and you may adjust your high ambitions to other team members, thus lowering them to match their ambitions. Being a team-player can mean you’re too dependent and scared to take initiative.
Being a lone wolf, on the other hand, can also be a weakness, meaning you cannot play well with others and put a joint project in jeopardy. It can also mean that you’re too arrogant to function in a group and we all know how well that goes for lone wolves.
Weakness is a subjective term, that is why if you do get asked this ambiguous question, it is best to answer that you are able to adapt to certain situations, if you are able to, of course, lying about anything on your job interview is not something we would condone or even suggest you think about let alone do it.
Whenever you are asked about your weaknesses, it may be for the better to answer truthfully, no matter how bad those weaknesses can make you look.
The interviewer can appreciate your honesty and see it as a good trait.
On the other hand, depending on what your weaknesses are, it may be wise to at least keep your mouth shut about them. Not telling is not always the same as lying, right?
Are you married/in a relationship?
This one is always tricky.
In reality, it provides minimum information that an employer can use to extract something useful for a potential worker and it can surely make the atmosphere awkward.
The only piece of information one can conclude from a negative answer to this question is that the potential workers can fully commit themselves to work.
Not having a family can be a good thing to some huge corporations as they are certain that they would be hiring a man who will one hundred percent be committed to his work and betterment of his work surroundings.
As with all things, there are always two sides of a medal, so not being in a relationship can also bring up some worries employer might have.
The biggest one is dating your colleagues.
The worst possible thing to come out of that situation would be the deterioration of good and healthy work atmosphere and a toxic atmosphere means less happiness of the workers which further plummets productiveness.
New generations value atmosphere in the workplace almost as much as the salary and benefits the new job offers, according to Holly Reagan from “Software Advice”, so if any of the interviewers worry about dating collapsing the atmosphere, they should not worry, at least with the new generation of workers.
The question itself might be intrusive, that is why some interviewers might not ask it at all. If asked, there is no right or wrong answer, basically.
The answer depends on the interviewer’s preference which further depends on the job for which you are being interviewed.
There is no way of knowing which answer would the hiring manager prefer, so it is best just to answer the question in the truest fashion as you can, as with all the other questions, as it has been advised on every other question in the article.
In addition to these important questions, there also some that must be mentioned in order for you to be better prepared.
The following questions are just an extra curriculum that might help you be better prepared, so give them a read if you already knew about the first five from the article or just want to go the extra mile.
RANDOM BRAIN TEASER QUESTIONS
Sometimes you might be asked a silly brain teaser question with the sole purpose of evaluating how quickly and “out of the box” can you think.
If I have to mention one of the silliest I have heard so far asked on job interviews the one that takes the cake is “What would you tell the Ninja Turtles if they came out of the sewers right in front of you?”
Though these questions might be rare, try not to look surprised when hearing the question about Ninja Turtles or “how many tennis balls can you fit in a limousine”.
It sounds like a joke, but the interviewer does not expect an exact number or other non numerical answers. Your creativity, logic and lateral thinking are expected to shine through here.
Some of these brain teaser questions are also designed to take you by surprise, so you can show your interviewer that you can manage yourself in a strange and seemingly impossible situation.
These questions are sometimes used as an ice breaker question or “the end of the interview” questions, but always be aware that whatever question you are being asked while being interviewed counts for something.
The Famous “Where do you see yourself in 5 years” Question
Now, this is a question that interviewers love, think about and almost always ask. The sole purpose of this question is basically to see how committed one is to work long-time for the firm they are being interviewed at the moment.
That question is always brought near the end of the interview as a question for closure, but it is always one that brings philosophical thinking with it.
A lot can happen in five years, something good might happen, something bad might happen, you might not be able to work for them anymore for any reason, it just warrants an unpredictable answer due to the unpredictability of time.
We are in deep philosophical waters so if anyone of you readers is in a position to become a job interviewer, it would be better to just avoid this question altogether.
If you were in my position, why would you hire yourself?
I would say that this question is the one that always floats around the head of the manager. In hindsight, this question is not a bad question, but it defeats the purpose of answering the other questions regarding your skills and upsides.
If you present yourself as a hard-working, willing to learn, even more, willing to act kind of person, this question should not even be on the repertoire of questions.
This question mostly comes to mind if the interviewed person does not make an impression of a business type worker.
An example would be if the potential worker comes into the interview dressed too casually or behaves too friendly etc.
As a matter of fact, this is an ideal question the person that wants the job should keep in their head, and use that question as a motivation to show themselves in the best light possible.
The question itself is more of a state of mind you should have and a way to build up the self-image and self-respect you must have in order to accomplish not just only success at a job interview but also success in other endeavors in life.
How much money would like to make on this job?
Another question that actually often gets asked is the salary question. If the interviewer has met various people, then they should expect the answer to this question to be “as high as possible”.
We all work for money, and most people would prefer to have a good salary while doing a minimum of work.
If the potential worker is a junior who is about to embark on his first job journey, they will probably say a high number and be snickered at by the interviewer, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Regardless of your answer, your salary will have been set by the time you sit in that chair on your new job, if you get selected, of course.
On the right-hand side of the page, there is an average salary for different job tiers.
Again if you are a job interviewer, present or future, please think about refraining from asking these types of questions.
As has previously been said, interviews are an inseparable part of job hunting and even though they may seem frightening at first, they represent a phase that is important for both the interviewee and the hiring manager.
The interviewing manager is always aware of his questions no matter how strange they sound, and every question is supposed to analyze you and your working characteristics, traits, perks, in addition to your everyday ones, non-work related attributes.
You need to stay relaxed and maintain a professional look when answering those questions as the non-verbal communication and your posture show a lot about you.
At the end of the interview, you might be thinking that the questions were not fair, that you might have done differently or better if some questions were more precise or left out altogether, just remember that there are always some questions that are more difficult and the interviewer could have asked you but chose not to.
Always have in mind that every question you have encountered has a purpose and no matter how strange and illogical it might sound, you should always simply try to answer them in the truest possible fashion you are able to, and you should not have any problems.
A final suggestion for all you job seekers that are about to get interviewed is not to think too much about the questions they may ask you, but to think about the eloquence and flow of your answers, and remember that there are a lot of other factors like body language and posture that are in play, besides the typical “questions and answers” game.