5 Tips for Interviewer Engagement in 2022

interview tips Jan 27, 2022
Overly engaged interviewer

What percentage of interviewers would you say show up excited and enthusiastic to interview you? I’d say it’s probably less than 5%. And, of that less than 5%, many are hiring managers that have a vested interest in you as the candidate. For the other 95%, the enthusiasm just isn’t there.

So, how do you engage these less-enthusiastic interviewers? Let’s take a look at 5 steps you can take to have better interview success in 2022.

Item #1—Your Recruiter

It all starts with your Recruiter. They will be critical to your success. You need to be having better conversations with your Recruiter and you should be asking better questions.

Many of the questions I get as an Interview Coach are about how someone can control key aspects of the interview process. In many cases, it simply comes down to their relationship with the Recruiter and the questions they ask. Many of these control issues stem from not asking the right questions of their Recruiter upfront. So much more can be clarified before they step into any interview.

First, ask about the focus areas of the interview. This will help you establish a stronger connection with the interviewer. Then, try to understand who the interviewer is and what kind of questions they like to ask. Do they have a distinctive personality type? Will they be responsive and express emotion or will they be straight-faced? Are they more prone to ask behavioral or open-ended questions? 

Finally, there is one very important question for interviewing in 2022. I created a poll  on LinkedIn and the responses confirmed that 67% of them had a video interview where the interviewer never turned on their camera. This can create some awkwardness. A key question to ask your Recruiter is if it is okay to request the interviewer to turn their camera on and or have a replacement interview. Set the expectations and get clarity before your interview.

Item #2—Interviewer Engagement

Your interviewer does not want to be there. You are an interruption to their day. There are no guarantees they will show up engaged, enthused or with their camera turned on. The responsibility falls on you to come in with positive energy and a strong presence.

Do what you can from the start to make it more conversational. Try to engage them as much as possible. Remember that a majority of interviews in 2022 are happening through video chats. Your interviewer will likely be even more distracted and less engaged than they might be in an in-person interview. This can be difficult to overcome, but it is not impossible. Be mindful of their environment and try to keep them engaged in the conversation throughout the interview. 

Item #3—Time

One helpful tip is to take your time during the interview without taking too much time.  Or hypoTake your time when questions are asked. Understand if it’s a behavioral question or hypothetical question, clarify if needed, and take the normal steps I always recommend:

  1.   Write down the question
  2.   Restate the question
  3.   Take your time

Taking this time to understand the question and organize your thoughts will help you present a better answer. It will show you are engaged in the process and this can help further engage your interviewer.

For open-ended questions, circle any ambiguous items in your notes and use those as the basis to ask your own questions. This will help you better structure your response. Take your time upfront. This will allow you to present a more thoughtful and efficient answer. If your answer is unclear and drones on aimlessly, the interviewer will quickly become disengaged.

Item #4—Visuals & Details

The one way to guarantee your interviewer will not be engaged is to present no visuals and no details. Include important details in your responses. This will help paint a clearer picture of the scenario and the specific actions you took to produce the desired results. Being too vague will be detrimental to the interview process. Carefully use your words and inject key details.

Example: Instead of saying “I met with the critical stakeholders to create a plan” say “I met with the VP of Product and the Director of Engineering to discuss how we could utilize sales strategies with our sportswear client. In that meeting, I shared a dashboard of trends and sales reports to show how we were differentiating from our competitors.” 

The second response is a little longer, but offers so many more critical details. It doesn’t take much to include visuals and details that will make your examples infinitely more engaging.

For more examples and insights, be sure to watch my full video on this topic:

Item #5—Practice

I will always stress the importance of practice. In this case, you must practice interviewer engagement with another human being. Let your friends and colleagues know when you are available to talk and then set up the calendar/Zoom invite. Provide them with questions to ask you and any other data you want them to consider during your practice interview. Practice with different personality types and explore different scenarios/questions. The more you can practice, the stronger you will be in your actual interview.

For more practice interview tips and resources, check out my YouTube channel, follow my blog or sign up on Practice Interviews.


Jeff H. Sipe

Jeff has interviewed over 1000 people in his career and previously spent five years working at Google headquarters in Silicon Valley. You likely found Jeff through YouTube and you will find the same level of dedication in his one on one practice interview sessions.

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