Interviewing is a complex process that brings unfamiliar people into close interaction, one of these people being a ‘judge’ holding the power of hiring or not hiring. The idea of sitting in front of this person being grilled with various tricky questions is not quite attractive. Thus, the situation often appears uncomfortable or even terrifying for those who feel intimidated by others and unconfident.
However, there are many misconceptions and myths that make the expectation for an interview even worse than it is. Let’s go through top interview myths that often stop candidates from putting their best forward and make clear if there is something to be afraid of.
Myth #1: All the same questions
For sure, you can, and you need to prepare for the interview when it comes to standard interview questions and procedures. However, there is a common belief that all employers have a limited number of questions at their disposal. Thus, whenever you are being interviewed, you will be asked the same questions.
This statement appears to be false. Although you will be asked about your strengths and weaknesses, the skills you can bring to the company, sometimes the employer will throw a curveball. Bizarre and tricky questions like “How would you solve problems if you were from Mars?”, often asked by Amazon helps to understand if a candidate is capable of thinking outside the traditional or normal. Such questions get more and more frequent when the competition for the position is high.
Practice. Ask your family and friends to mock interviews with you. Think of various scenarios and convince yourself that tricky questions are usually asked not to humiliate you but to demonstrate your creative thinking and even humor.
Myth #2: All the same answers
Some candidates believe that the same answers will satisfy any kind of employer. For sure, an employer will never learn that you have already used this answer before. Besides, there is a common belief that a candidate should not research the company in advance as the interview questions will be quite generic. Thus, generic answers will suffice.
This myth sinks a lot of candidates. A well prepared and too general answer sounds superficial and hard to believe. Even your comments on the suggestion “Please, walk me through your resume” should be customized for a particular employer.
Do some research on the company policy, culture, and values. Try to analyze the job description and define the characteristics they value the most. At the same time, by providing answers and talking about the previous experience, you need to expose skills, competencies, and knowledge that will be appreciated by this particular company.
Myth #3: Keep your answers brief
According to LinkedIn research, an average interview lasts about 40 minutes. Thus, to make the best impression of yourself and provide all the required information, you need to be brief. Besides, everything that matters the most is already on your resume.
While this statement may be true on one level – brevity is the soul of wit – in reality, the lack of words to say may seem as not caring about the position. Besides, a short answer may be perceived as a sign of misunderstanding or your failure to provide a correct answer.
Keep calm. Being interviewed, candidates often feel nervous and stressed out. Thus, it is quite challenging to control your speech. Do not provide too short answers, and don`t chatter at the same time. Try to use your regular tone of voice and pace, make pauses to think. The most important thing is that your speech must be meaningful.
Myth #4: Give strength to the greatest weakness question
While you provide answers to your interviewers, you are to convince them that you are the best fit for the position and a dream hire. Besides, a dream hire cannot have any weaknesses and always does only the right things.
The interviewers usually know everything about perfectionists and over passionate people who never make mistakes. They meet such candidates every day. Therefore, they do not usually believe such statements. The impression you will likely make is that you lack self-awareness.
There is no shame in knowing and sharing your weaknesses. The interviewers usually ask these questions to learn if you are capable of self-analysis, and if you have an approach to address your problems. Always start with the steps you take to solve the issue.
Myth #5: The first impression is the most important
Everyone knows – you will not get a second chance to make a first impression. Candidates dress up, smile all the time, control their body language, and even refuse the offers of refreshments to look picture perfect during their first meeting.
The first impression is an essential factor. However, if you deal with an experienced interviewer, the first impression won`t be a decisive one. Decision-making is a complex process. It can hardly rely on first impressions only. It takes only 7 seconds to make an impression, which is not enough to make a decision.
Bad things happen to good people all the time. You can quickly get confused, or it just may not be your best day. Do not lose your cool and remain positive. Try to retake control and turn the situation to your best.
Differentiating yourself from the crowd of other candidates is a real goal of a good job interview. Therefore, the following shared beliefs and recommendations may not be the best option. Using common sense to break through the interview is a good idea, but preparation and broad knowledge of the possible pitfalls are even more critical.