Interview prep is crucial: researching the company, crafting mock answers to common questions, preparing a professional outfit, etc. This portion prior to meeting with a job interviewer is fairly straightforward.

The difficult part (and one that not every job candidate considers) is preparing for what’s actually going on in the mind of an interviewer. Once you’re sitting across from a hiring manager, there’s only so much you can prepare for. To help you become a makeshift mind reader, we’ve outlined some situations below where it might help to know what your job interviewer is most likely thinking:

Situation 1: When you say your only weakness is “working too hard”

“This answer again?” While admitting weaknesses during an interview is difficult, the question will most likely pop up, so you need to ensure you’re prepared to knock the socks off of your interviewer! By using phrases like, “I work too hard” or “I’m a perfectionist,” you are automatically losing credibility because they’ve heard these answers before. Remember, your interviewer was in your shoes at some point or another, and knows that those answers are all too common! The purpose of the question is to get a sense of if you’re actually in touch with your weak points, and if you can be honest and upfront about areas you need to work on.

Situation 2: When you’re late for a scheduled interview time

In the workplace, it’s no secret that time is of the essence! If you find yourself in a bind on the way to an interview that ends with you being late, it’s important to be mindful of what the interviewer is thinking. Potential employers are looking for punctuality to an interview because it reflects on your habits as an employee and the amount of interest you have in the opportunity. Showing up late without taking the proper steps to make up for lost time will result in the interviewer thinking you won’t be the right fit for the job, and they may even take it as a sign of disrespect and laziness. Life will happen and things may come up, but if you’re going to be late, let an interviewer know ASAP to avoid these negative thoughts.

Situation 3: When you bad-mouth your previous employer

Looking for a new job opportunity is exciting, especially when you don’t necessarily love your most recent position. The important thing is to keep it to yourself during an interview. If you start ranting about how awful the company culture was or how you didn’t agree with your boss ever, the interviewer will see instant red flags. In fact, they will most likely conclude that you’ll bring negativity to the team and possibly repeat the same behavior in that position. Instead of bad mouthing your previous employer, this is the part of the interview where you’re allowed to be a bit vague by using replies such as,“We were moving in different directions,” or “I wanted to grow in a new position.” Then, focus on the lessons you learned in that situation in order to spin it in a positive direction.

Situation 4: When your phone goes off during the interview

The fact of the matter is we carry our smartphones everywhere, even into job interviews, which is fine…most times. However, if you’re sitting in an interview and a half hour in, your phone starts playing the dog bark ringtone, chances are it’ll throw everyone off. Interviewers don’t like distractions and may consider the phone malfunction unprofessional and distasteful.

Situation 5: When there’s an awkward pause

Three simple words – do not panic. An awkward pause does not immediately mean a job interviewer is thinking negative thoughts! Interviews can feel tense and slightly stiff because you’re being evaluated. Interviewers may take their time asking questions because they are jotting down notes physically or mentally. If there’s a pause, don’t automatically jump to fill the silence by rambling. Wait an appropriate length of time and if he/she doesn’t continue with questions, they most likely want you to elaborate on your answer.

Job interviews are never easy, especially because we can’t read minds! Next time you speak with a potential employer, try to remember these situations and what may be going on in the mind of the job interviewer.

Do you have a similar situation you’d like to share? Please share below: