Clemson Center for Career and Professional Development

Career Development & Recruiting

Job Interview Tips From a Hiring Professional

By Kevin Donlin, Guaranteed Resumes
This article and many more can be found at

You already know enough to practice your answers to such commonly asked interview questions as "Can you tell me about yourself?" and "Why do you want this job?"

But what's really going through the mind of that person sitting across the table from you at the job interview? What are those HR people thinking as you sweat out your answers to their questions?

To find out, I interviewed Ms. X, an HR Manager from a Twin Cities-based marketing firm. She agreed to share some of the things she looks for while interviewing candidates.

Now, here's the transcript of my interview with Ms. X:

Kevin Donlin: "What are some of the things you're listening for as candidates talk with you during a job interview?"

Ms. X: "First, I'm listening for self-awareness. Do they have goals? Do they know what their goals are for one year, five years and further down the road? I'm looking for team players with good judgment, who will help my company out over the long term. Because I don't want to have to fill this position again in six months."

Kevin: "So, candidates will help themselves by being self-aware but not self-centered?"

Ms. X: "Yes, that's a good balance. I'm also looking for adaptability. How has the candidate handled change in the past? Given the fact that the world of work is changing so rapidly these days, I want flexible people who can adapt to new systems and processes."

Kevin: "Other important points?"

Ms. X: "I think that, related to adaptability, it's important to have a good learning ability. In any industry, you have to stay current on new trends and technologies. What works today won't work in five years ... maybe not even in five months! Candidates should be able to master new skills and information as quickly as possible. I look for this in resumes and during the job interview.

"Overall, I'm looking for candidates who are a good fit, not just for the job description, but for the corporate culture here. But I won't come right out and ask: 'Do you think you're a good fit for us?' No. The whole interview gives me the answer to that question -- everything the candidate has said and they way they've acted."

So there you have it. While every HR professional is different, you should at least be aware of the fact that your attitude and unspoken answers during a job interview can be just as important as your answers to the more direct questions.

Best of luck to you!

Kevin Donlin is the author of "Resume and Cover Letter Secrets Revealed," a do-it-yourself manual that will help you find a job in 30 days … or your money back. For more information, please visit