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