What Harvard Researchers Think Job Interviewers Really Want to See in a Candidate | Career Training | The Salter School
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What Harvard Researchers Think Job Interviewers Really Want to See in a Candidate


what employers are looking for in job interviewsWhat employers are really looking for during a job interview

If you’re in a training program to become a professional medical assistant, health claims specialist, or massage therapist, you understand that training and experience are critical factors when entering a new career field.

But research from Harvard University shows that hiring managers may have a hidden motivation when they start asking questions during an interview.

Of course, they want to find out what you know about the skills required for the position. But they’re also looking for something else: trustworthiness.

You are not a robot

According the Harvard study, trustworthiness was best demonstrated when people displayed warmth and competence.

So how can you appear warm and competent … while also maintaining eye contact, avoiding fidgeting and demonstrating your professional knowledge?

Keep these two things in mind.

Give credit where credit is due

Yes, you need to “sell” yourself a bit during a job interview. This can be hard for a lot of people because they may be concerned they will come across as egotistical.

The good news is that there’s a way to highlight your accomplishments without sounding arrogant: Give credit to other people.

For example, when the interviewer says “Tell me about yourself,” you could say: “I was really inspired by my instructor’s passion for always doing an excellent job. I think about that a lot when I see how the tasks that a medical assistant does are important to assessing a patient’s overall health.”

Show that you take responsibility

 “Tell me why you left your last job.”

“Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult person.”

If there are any landmines during a job interview, they usually sound something like those questions.

But you can actually use these questions to show that you’re a  team player, even when faced with significant tension.

The key thing hiring managers want to see: That you’re not the kind of person who would leave coworkers in a lurch.

Frame your answer to focus on how you performed your job tasks, rather than the negative aspects of the situation.

For instance, a good response could be: “I realized there weren’t any opportunities for advancement at my last job, so I decided it was time to move on. However, since I knew the busy season was coming up, I wanted to make sure that they had a replacement for me before I left.”

Or this: “My supervisor and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye. I just made sure to focus on my job duties and doing the best work I could. I found if I did that, things were a lot more pleasant and my shift went a lot faster.”

Need some more interview advice? Stop by and see the folks in Career Services. They’re always happy to help.

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