Have you ever attended an interview and thought you nailed it to the T by answering everything correctly and fitting into the job description, but yet you didn’t get the job? Perhaps, you didn’t pass the airport test!
Airport test. Whether you’ve heard of the term or not, it is something you need to familiarize yourself with because it could make or break your getting hired chances. The airport test is by far the most subjective question the interviewer asks themselves. He/she asks themselves “if I was stuck at the airport for an extended period of time with this person, would I enjoy it?”. Although this question might seem irrelevant to your qualifications and talent, it is essentially a way to gauge whether you’re a likable candidate or not. The airport test starts at the beginning of the interview and becomes part of the process giving the interviewer an idea of whether they’re willing to work with you or not.
Why would the hiring manager use the airport test?
The employer uses the airport test to better understand who you are away from the basic interview answers. They want to know if you’ll be a good fit for the team, culture, and the organization at large. It allows the interviewer to see your personality and soft skills, plus how well you’ll get along with other people in the company.
So, how do you ensure that you pass the airport test?
Here are some practical tips.
Don’t shy away from the conversation (small talk)
Remember what I said earlier, the main goal of the interviewer is to catch a glimpse of your personality with the airport test questions. Present your authentic self and interact with those you meet along the interview process. Be active in the process to show you’re genuinely interested in the topic at hand and the people involved.
In a scenario that the interviewer seems too keen to talk about your love for horseback riding or your passion for rock climbing, don’t be too quick in moving away. This might not be necessary, but it is a great chance for the interviewer to who you are and if you’re a good representation of the business.
Remember to keep it professional
Although authenticity is highly valued when it comes to the airport test, it is also very important to keep things professional. Be very selective with the answers you give to the questions not come off as inappropriate.
Choose answers that represent a good image of yourself. For example; instead of answering how you spent your weekend partying so hard Friday night that you got home in the wee morning hours, tell them the environmental conservation event you attended later Saturday evening.
Also, keep the conversation light and avoid heated topics such as politics and religion, unless the job you’re interviewing for calls for it.
Avoid monopolizing the conversation
The interview is about you, I get it, the interviewer clearly knows it! But, don’t forget that you and he/she are supposed to be stuck in a boring airport somewhere, and you obviously don’t want to add to the bore by making the conversation one-sided, do you? Ask them some interesting questions about their role and which part of it they enjoy the most.
Don’t just ask the questions, listen and engage them to learn more about the workplace. You might actually find something interesting about the company that either makes you want to stay or leave.
I’m sure you want to go down as the candidate that was keen on creating a connection with the interviewer or the company, right? You can do this by researching about the company or the interviewer to find out if you have anything in common. Anything in common could range from going to the same school or even owning the same breed of dogs. Establishing a good rapport is a great opportunity to start a good conversation that helps you stand out.
Be in check with your body language
More than any words you speak during the interview, your body language is the one place the interviewer will get a lot of your important information. You have to use your facial expressions, posture, and gestures. Utilizing positive body language during an interview will help you evoke a confident, engaged, enthusiastic, and focused you.
Hook the interviewer with something memorable
Highlight some of your unique interests and hobbies that are not related to work. Maybe you’re the lead vocalist to the band that plays on the weekends at the city’s fairly popular joint, or maybe you’ve traveled across Europe over the last few years. Some of these unique hobbies might help you come off as goal-oriented and creative giving you an advantage over other candidates.
Don’t leave without networking
The airport test might actually go beyond the interviewer, it might include other people that you interacted with during the interview process. Impress and engage company employees when you get the chance to interact with them. Ask them about the company and their interests outside of their jobs. How you behave with your potential team members will highly determine if you get hired or not.
I hope that this article has taught you that even though your qualifications and ability to perform the job are important, so is being likable by those you work with. When preparing to attend an interview, arm yourself with not only your professional answers but personal ones too.
You want to show up as someone any of your future team members would find enjoyable being stuck with at an airport.
Be your authentic self! Remember that even though the airport test is, essentially for the interviewer to gauge your personality, it is also a great opportunity for you to gauge the workplace. After getting to know the interviewer, interacting with employees, and knowing a little more about the company. Ask yourself if you’re still interested in being part of them. Consider the airport test as a two-sided sword that benefits both you and the interviewer!