The biggest problem job-seekers face after an initial job interview is the risk of being forgotten. Hiring managers have a lot on their minds. They can easily forget your conversation with them. They may have met seven to ten job candidates or more, sometimes in back-to-back interviews.
The candidates run together in the manager’s mind, especially if the interviews take place within a short time frame. You may be dropped out of the running merely because the manager couldn’t quite bring you or your conversation back to mind when the time came to schedule second interviews for a few people and send everybody else a “no thank you” message.
That’s a shame, but it happens every day. If you want the job, you can’t afford to just get through the interview. You have to dig into a meaty topic that the manager cares about. If you pay attention, you’ll be able to tell whether your hiring manager — the person who will be your boss in the new job — is tuned into your conversation, or somewhere else entirely.
Hiring managers, like HR people and recruiters, tend to interview a lot of people. They can get good at faking being present while actually being a million miles away in their minds. You could be running down your career history, and your manager may be smiling at you with a fake plastic smile and thinking “If I can get out of here by five-thirty I can get to the dry cleaner before they close.”
That’s bad for you! If your hiring manager is not tuned in and highly interested in your conversation during the job interview, he or she will have a hard time remembering you tomorrow. It isn’t enough simply to answer the manager’s questions acceptably. You have to keep your hiring manager actively in the conversation.