You really want this job interview to go well. You arrive prepared and on time. You are a bit nervous, but are confident you have the skills and qualifications to be an excellent candidate. You sit in the reception area and wait to be called. You hear the words “The HR Director is ready to see you, please follow me”. You walk into a room and see a professional looking gentleman sitting across the desk. You walk over with a smile and shake his hand. It’s show time!

Have you ever wondered during a job interview exactly what an interviewer is thinking? Are you doing a good job answering the questions asked of you? Is there anything you can do to improve? Sometimes it’s the plain basics in the job interview that can make all the difference in the world. Here’s what a job interviewer would love to tell each person that walks through their door (but can’t):

    Be Honest and Concise – We all know of people who when asked a question go off on a tangent and don’t really answer the initial question asked of them. Politicians have this down to an art! However, during a job interview it is extremely important to give direct, clear and honest answers. Why? Not properly answering questions may signal to an interviewer that you don’t know the answer, didn’t actually listen to the question, or are trying to hide something. All things you want to avoid.

    Do Your Research – Before any job interview, always visit a company’s website to learn more about a firm. What are some current issues facing this company? Is the firm’s industry growing? Who are the company’s major competitors? Taking the time to learn about a company beforehand shows initiative and preparedness – important traits for any job. Remember to also know your resume inside and out.

    Make Eye Contact – It may seem like a small detail, but making eye contact with an interviewer will pay off in spades. It conveys a level of confidence and interest that an interviewer will pick up on immediately. Body language as a whole speaks volumes. Sit up straight, smile and don’t cross your arms. Act interested and be attentive. Don’t let your body language sabotage your job interview. Perception is reality.

    Show Enthusiasm – Being enthusiastic during a job interview does not mean the pom poms come out and you go into cheerleader mode! It is about conveying to an interviewer that you have a keen, sincere interest in working for the company. Through your vocabulary, voice and body language you can truly ‘win over’ an interviewer, but it takes practice. Role playing is a great way to build interview skills.

    Don’t Worry If You’re a Bit Nervous – Being nervous during a job interview is natural. The secret is to manage your stress effectively so it doesn’t become overwhelming. How do you do this? Usually nerves subside after the first few minutes of an interview, so it is important to get over this initial hump. Make sure to breathe and try to not let your mind wander. When this happens we often second guess ourselves and that’s when nerves can creep in. Nervous energy can actually help you. Use it to your advantage.

Despite popular belief, a job interviewer is on your side and wants you to do well. However, they also have a responsibility to their company to find the best possible candidate. Put yourself in an interviewer’s shoes and think about those traits that are important in someone you would want to hire. Voila! These are the secrets to a great candidate. Walk into your interview attentive, confident and prepared. You will outshine the competition. Good luck!

Kevin Makra is the President of Sentor Media Inc., and founder of He can be reached at

See also:

Five job interview secrets that employers don’t tell candidates
Eight signs that the job interview isn’t going very well (and how to turn it around)
Confessions from the hiring manager’s side of the desk: here’s what most candidates don’t know