13 Interview Myths And How To Deal With Them

Written by on July 21, 2014 in Blog, Careers, Interviews with 2 Comments

Interview Myths, Or Facts?

Okay, you made it through the phone screen, you did your research and other preparation, and now you’re going for an on-site interview. Before you go, let’s review some of the more common interview myths to see if they’re true or not.

The Interviewer Is Always Prepared—Mythred x mark

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. You’ll usually find HR and the hiring manager are prepared, but quite often the rest of the team is a crapshoot. I have been at lunch with managers who admitted they had an interview coming up at 2:00 or 3:00, but they hadn’t even read the candidate’s resume yet, let alone prepared questions.

How To Handle

The way to overcome this is to be better prepared than other candidates. The more prepared you are, the more chance you’ll have of coming out on top, regardless of how unprepared one of the interview team might be.

The Interviewers Asks Good Questions—Mythred x mark

Some interviewers ask great questions. But once again, you’ll find HR and the hiring manager are the consistent ones. Many of the others might not be good interviewers. Some of them might even ask ridiculous questions.

How To Handle

Preparation is they key here also. When you are prepared, you become confident. When you’re confident, you can handle off-topic questions better.

Don’t Smile Too Much—Mythred x mark

I strongly suggest smiling, though I’d stop short of breaking out into full-fledged laughter. (See this post I did on using smiling as an interview tool.)

Don’t Talk Too Much—Mythred x mark

This saying should be “don’t ramble.”

Don’t talk too much is a subjective statement. Think of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The porridge was either too hot, too cold, or just right. Talking in an interview is similar. You don’t want to talk too much or too little. You want your answers to be just right.

Be prepared, and know yourself. Think before answering any questions, and then do it in a clear, concise manner. And keep your responses on target; don’t go off on tangents.

Don’t Ask Too Many Questions—Mythred x mark

Ask as many appropriate questions as you want, and as time allows.

Looks and Physical Appearance Matter—FactGreen checkmark

Whether we like to admit it or not, looks do matter, and a good-looking, well-groomed candidate will have an edge over anyone who isn’t. All the more reason to be better prepared.

A Strong Handshake Can “Seal the Deal”—FactGreen checkmark

This old saying might be more fact than myth. I can’t imagine a strong handshake actually “sealing the deal,” but I can see where a limp handshake may “sour the deal.”

You Need to Make Eye Contact—FactGreen checkmark

This is another unfortunate truth. You definitely should be conscious of this and make sure you establish eye contact. Don’t stare them down as if you’re trying to hypnotize them, but do make eye contact, especially when you’re responding to a serious question and when they are speaking. You don’t want them to get the impression that you’re not interested in what they’re saying.

I’m not a big proponent of using body language as a tool to measure a candidate’s fit for the job, but it’s a part of the process and I don’t see it changing anytime soon. I have actually had candidate lose the job offer because of this one alone—not looking the interviewer in the eye. It’s a shame, but it’s a fact.

Being Late Ruins Your Chance of an Offer—FactGreen checkmark

Absolutely true. This one is one of the few that might be an instant deal killer for some companies, and some people.

Make plans to leave early. Take into account anything that might happen on the way, and then leave 15 minutes earlier than that. And if something does happen, make sure you call and let them know.

Don’t Ever Talk Bad About Anyone—FactGreen checkmark

This one, like being late, is a potential instant deal killer.

I know of a few interviewers who try to lure candidates into saying something bad. They’ll take them to lunch, and chat about the industry, and even mention something about the candidate’s former employer, hoping they’ll join in. Don’t fall for it.

Don’t Ever Bring Up Salary—FactGreen checkmark

I say fact but that is relative. The general rule is don’t bring up salary or compensation on the first interview, or anything prior to that. If you are fortunate enough to return for a second round of interviewing, it’s an appropriate time to bring it up—with the right person.

If You Admit Your Weakness, It Will Kill Your Chances—Mythred x mark

Actually the reverse of this is more true. If you don’t admit to some kind of weakness or fault, you will be suspect and the interview team will likely classify you as being out of touch with reality. Everyone has weaknesses. I’ll be doing a post on how to handle this in the next month or so.

The Best Person Gets the Job—Mythred x mark

This is a sad myth, but it is one that people need to understand. We’ve already talked about the interviewers not being prepared in many cases. You can’t count on the interview team to uncover your greatness.

You have to show them why you’re the best candidate for the job. You have to demonstrate with your actions, words, and the way you present your accomplishments, that you are the one they need to extend the offer to. You cannot rely on them to arrive at that decision on their own.

Bottom Line

Being prepared is the single biggest thing you can do to increase your chances of earning the job offer. I dedicate a large part of my book to preparation for that reason.

If you enjoyed this post, please share.

Jim (Giacomo) Giammatteo is a headhunter who writes resumes and cover letters. He is also the author of No Mistakes Resumes, and No Mistakes Interviews. He also writes gritty crime dramas about murder, mystery, and family.

He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 45 loving “friends.”

photo credit: violscraper via photopin cc

photo credit: WarzauWynn via photopin cc

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

Tags: , , ,


About the Author

About the Author: When I’m not headhunting, or writing, I help my wife take care of our animal sanctuary. At last count we had 45 animals—11 dogs, 1 horse, 6 cats, and 26 pigs. Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar named Dennis who takes walks with me every day and happens to also be my best buddy. For information on my mystery/suspense books, go to giacomog.com .

2 Reader Comments

Trackback URL Comments RSS Feed

  1. avatar Steve Lane says:

    Thoroughly enjoying your site. I was led to it via the recent Yahoo article. I score extremely well on your advice and pretty much have mirrored all your recommendations throughout my 25 year career. I’m at a loss to find the answer to the most intriguing of these questions however. Specifically, how DO you answer the “Greatest weakness” question? Back in the day you did use a strength as the core of your response, but alas I’m certain that cat’s out of the bag (pardon my pun given your farm!). But I digress….surely would love to know how to field that question these days.

    Thanks in advance for your response.
    Steve Lane
    Raleigh, NC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: