8 Insights into HR’s Mind When You Are Being Interviewed


Inside the mind of a hiring manager is a desirable place to be, if you are a job seeker.  Specifically, job seekers want to know what goes on inside the mind of a recruiter before, during and after an interview. The Chameleon Team has over 80 years of collective search firm recruiting, corporate recruiting, and human resources consulting expertise to shed some light on what goes on in a hiring manager’s mind while they interview you.  Here is what we are thinking:

1. What comes up when I Google your name or look you up on LinkedIn?

You don’t necessarily need to look like you had a Top 10 advertising firm create a multifaceted online presence, but as a hiring manager, I want to see that you are cognizant to how you appear to the world online.  While positive influences are always good (polished profile, possibly a professional blog, evidence of involvement in your profession or your community), I am really looking for anything that may make me question your judgement (negative rants, questionable photos, evidence of poor professional discretion).

2. Are you humble and mature? 

Put another way, do you bring your resume and have your reference information readily available when asked?  Do you come across as an executive diva (or divo) that I have to chase?  I am looking for mutual respect.  Yes, I know there are some of my recruiting brethren who do not conduct themselves appropriately.  I am sorry you experienced this with other recruiters…however, that is not my issue.  I don’t take out bad candidate behavior on you, so don’t take out bad recruiter behavior on me. 

3. What ELSE did you do to prepare for this interview?

What bores us is having information about our company regurgitated back to us. As a recruiter, I already know how many employees we have and the global locations we have (I probably recruit for some of those locations).  Hiring managers want to see what you did beyond the internet search and then how you apply the information you found to determine how you can add value as our next employee. 

4. How did you behave on the interview?

Arriving on time shows me that you planned ahead and knew what you would have to do to get to our office on time or have your remote interview set-up working beforehand.  And whether your interview is in person or via Zoom or on the phone, ensure you are prepared appropriately.  For visual meetings, dress appropriately.  For audio interviews, don’t sound like you just woke up or are doing something else while we chat.  So be aware.  If you don’t impress us, you may not make it to an interview with the hiring manager.

5. Do you respect or dismiss HR?

Too often, candidates will treat our HR department or other non-critical departments poorly and with not as much importance as the interview with the hiring manager. Big Mistake. Seeking administration, non-direct departments (for example, interviewing with a marketing leader as potential coworkers for a finance role), and HR input is a common practice nowadays with companies wanting 360-degree feedback on potential hires.  Treat everyone you come in contact with respect to move to the next stages.

6. Are you a whiner?

Stemming from the negative online rants mentioned in Item #1, we are looking for a pattern in the interview, too.  Are you typically a part of the problem or of the solution at your prior employers? When asked about challenges are you subtly deflecting blame to others or are you owning your part and demonstrating lessons learned from your challenges?  Most companies don’t want to hire the next thorn in their side, so be sure you don’t look like a thorn.

7. Can you speak of yourself vulnerably and candidly?

To be clear, I am not looking for TMI lines to be crossed.  I do expect appropriate level of diplomatic sharing of information… again, part of the judgment you demonstrate.  However, I am impressed when someone can speak frankly and objectively of a failure they had and demonstrate what was learned from the experience.  Making mistakes is human and I want someone who can show me their humanity.  It also will tell me that you will be capable of telling the truth when mistakes happen on the job—because mistakes will happen on the job.  Human humility goes a long way in today’s pigeon-chested, pumped up world.

8. Will you follow up properly or at all?

Politely persistent follow-up post interview wins the game, when all other things are equal.  The follow up letters do not need to be long.  Reference a point discussed when we met, demonstrate how you can fix a particular problem I mentioned we have at the company, reiterate your desire to work with us in a specific manner.  Following up in a personal manner can give you the competitive edge over someone else.

Following these eight insights can help you approach your next interview on the offense and less on the defense.  Own your next interview and get the offer by setting yourself up for success. Get instant access to our online training "How to Create Your LinkedIn Profile to Generate 6-Figure Job Interviews Faster."

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About Lisa

Lisa Rangel and The Chameleon Team are the only executive resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and job landing consultancy who has been hired by LinkedIn and recognized by Forbes. Our 4-Stage META Job Landing System stems from decades of corporate and executive recruiting experience to position you to land your next 6 or 7-figure role faster.


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