Job interview myths abound. When preparing for an interview, being aware of these myths can increase a candidate’s chances of doing well in the interview and landing the role. Below, we have compiled a list of the most common job interview myths and the flaws in each one. Whether you’re interviewing for a job in consulting, retail, or just about anywhere, debunking these myths will boost your confidence and help you more effectively prepare.
Top Job Interview Myths
The most qualified candidate will land the role.
Being qualified is only part of the battle in landing the role. How the candidate shows up in the interview is equally important. Your ability to connect with the interviewer, maintain poise, and show compatibility with the company culture also contribute to winning the role.
Researching the company is the most important part of interview preparation.
Researching the company is definitely a part of interview preparation, but the majority of that time should be spent reviewing your work history and selecting anecdotes to share that highlight your skills.
The interviewer is prepared for the interview.
Your interviewer may or may not be prepared. They may be looking at your resume for the first time during the interview. In almost every case, you will have spent more time preparing for the interview (if not, get to it). Bonus tip: an unprepared interviewer affords you more of an opportunity to control the dialogue.
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There is no such thing as over preparation.
Thorough preparation will help your confidence level in the interview, but there is such a thing as preparing too much. Over preparation can interfere with your ability to connect authentically with the interviewer. For example, when candidates over prepare by memorizing answers to common interview questions, it often results in flat, one-dimensional answers. Most companies aren’t looking for that quality!
An interview is a pop quiz and there is only one right answer to most questions.
An interview is more akin to a conversation than a quiz or test. The interviewer is interested in seeing how a candidate naturally thinks. This is especially true for client-facing roles like consulting where the value the consultant brings to the table is both in the work and in their interaction with clients.
You must be ready to do the job on day one.
Good companies integrate training throughout their employees’ tenures. A candidate should have the basic skill set and experience required, but lacking experience or certain skills usually won’t eliminate them from the running.
When in doubt, wear a suit.
Company attire is increasingly leaning towards business casual or casual. We recommend that candidates find out what an employee at the company commonly wears and select an outfit that is one level more formal. In addition to dress, looking composed and professional is important – so skip the bike and take a car to avoid arriving sweaty to the interview.
Salary expectations is a recommended first interview question.
Salary level is important and may ultimately determine whether a candidate takes a job. But candidates should avoid broaching the subject in initial interviews (usually the hiring team or HR will ask about salary). Starting off with salary expectations is bound to leave a bad first impression.
Following up after the interview signals desperation.
If still interested in the role, candidates should follow up after interviewing. A thank you email is far from a signal of desperation. It signals professionalism and sincere interest in the position.
Continually list your strengths during the interview.
When it comes to the interview, strengths should be highlighted through examples and not explicitly listed. Going through a list of strengths or repeatedly mentioning a couple of strengths throughout the interview can be disempowering for a candidate and boring for the interviewer. It is best to let your strengths shine through your responses in the form of stories.
Wait until the end of the interview to ask questions.
Interviewer-led questions may be the hallmark of an interview. But it is also important for the candidate to weave questions throughout the interview. Asking questions during the interview signals interest, intelligence, and confidence. In addition, it can help the candidate evaluate if the company is a natural fit for them. While candidates should save a few closing questions, it is most natural to ask questions as topics arise in the interview.
Are these job interview myths still triggering jitters? We offer resources and coaching to help candidates prepare for case and behavioral interviews. Grab an hour (or 2 or 4) of 1:1 coaching with a seasoned professional today. After all, when prepping for interviews, an outside opinion from a friend, colleague, or expert can be priceless!
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