hiring managerIt doesn’t matter if you’ve been interviewed a million times or you can count them on one hand, the stress is palpable when you come face-to-face with a hiring manager. You’re trying your hardest to present the very best version of yourself while also attempting to read your interviewer, gather information about the position, company culture and the organization as a whole. No pressure.

When you ask a hiring manager what it’s like to make a hiring decision, they’ll tell you it’s no easy task for them, either. When they’re choosing from a group of well-qualified applicants, making the right choice can be very difficult. So how do you tip the scales in your favor? Try putting yourself in their shoes.

No one has figured out how to read minds (last we checked) but you can come pretty close if you take a look at some of the most common thoughts hiring managers think during your interview.

Can I manage them?

If a supervisor believes they can’t work with you, they’re not going to hire you. Managers come in all sizes and shapes. Some are hands-off and give very little supervision while others want to receive daily updates and schedule regular check-in meetings. If you like regular feedback yourself, and like that one-on-one interaction then a laid-back manager isn’t the best fit for you. Conversely, if you’re a hands-off type of employee, then an in-your-face supervisor won’t be a great match for you.

At some point in the interview, you should have an opportunity to ask a few questions as the interviewee. One of these questions should be, “How would you describe your management style?” If their answer is in line with your preferences, then let them know by saying something like, “That sounds great, I find that I work really well with managers who are _____________.”

Should you discover that your future employer’s leadership style isn’t a fit, you might want to evaluate whether or not this is the best job for you.

Do they really understand the job position?

Not only do interviewers want you to understand what you’ll be getting yourself into, they also want to know that you’ve done your homework. One big mistake job seekers make is not thoroughly reviewing the job description before the interview. During the interview, make an effort to relate your previous experiences and responsibilities to some of the duties you may have if you’re brought on board.

There are common questions hiring managers ask to find out if you’ve done your homework, like “Why are you interested in this position?” This is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the position. Be sure to say something specific that indicates you understand what the job entails and why you’re such a great fit.

Once you’ve demonstrated that you’ve done more than just read the job description, another great way to show you understand what you’re interviewing for is to ask questions about the role. When you show you can go beyond the job listing, it sends a message to the interviewer that you have a solid grasp of the role’s responsibilities and what is expected.

Are they really excited about working here?

Showing an in-depth understanding of the opportunity is vital, but you also need to show that you’re genuinely excited about the organization as a whole. Let’s be realistic – not every interview is going to make you jump up and down with excitement, but try your best to show some enthusiasm.

Along with wondering if you’re truly excited about the opportunity, they’re also gauging whether you will be a good fit in the office environment. Don’t forget to ask about the team, their work style and the company culture during the interview. This not only shows that you’re genuinely interested, but it will show that you, too, care about being the right fit for the job.

Will they make me look good?

Ahhh…and there it is, how will their performance reflect on me as their manager? Your future boss wants to make sure that if they take a day off or can’t make it to a meeting, that you’re still be on top of your game. If you do well, they look good too. If you’re a total goof off when the boss is away, they won’t be too happy upon their return.

How do you get your boss to understand you’re totally trustworthy? Find out what they value in a team member. Ask, “What traits do you find most important in an employee?” or “What are your expectations of the person who takes this position?” If their answer lines up with your work style, make sure to tell them.

Isn’t it time for lunch?

If a hiring manager has had back-to-back interviews all morning, their minds can wander. Wouldn’t yours? We’re not saying this happens in every interview, but sometimes the blood sugar drops and the “squirrel” syndrome kicks in. They might be hungry, tired or simply distracted. Regardless of the reason, it does happen.

Even though you can’t control the external factors affecting their state of mind, you can work on becoming the most engaging, interesting interviewee you can possibly be. Ask a friend to help you practice interview questions, critique your body language, eye contact, tone of voice and the content of your answers. Keep your answers short and sweet, don’t ramble if you’re nervous. This can make a meeting feel like it’s dragging on for hours.

Remember, the goal isn’t to simply tell your interviewer what you think they want to hear. The goal is to proactively address questions they’re probably thinking about anyway. The fact is, the purpose of a job interview isn’t just to land a job, it’s also a time to find out if you and your potential employer mesh well together. Come to the interview well-prepared and play an active role, and it will serve in making you look like an all-star!