When you’re going in for an interview, you’ve probably got some preconceived notions about how the interview will go. Unfortunately, your perspective may be skewed by some of the most popular myths about interviewing that still persist today. Here are the top 10 interview myths about interviewing that people still believe, even though they shouldn’t. Debunk these before your interview in order to make the best impression possible.
Myth 1: Your resume is what will get you most of the way to landing a job.
Reality: Your resume simply opens the door. The way you answer interview questions, connect with potential colleagues, present yourself and follow up after the interview all have much more bearing on whether you might get the job or not.
Myth 2: The interviewer is prepared for your interview, and knows what he’s doing.
Reality: Unfortunately, you can be sure that you have prepared for this interview much more than your interviewer has. The person interviewing you is likely going to rely much more on first impressions and your bearing, and won’t pay deep attention to answers you’ve carefully crafted. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare — just don’t be surprised if the interviewer doesn’t have your resume handy.
Myth 3: There are right answers to the questions you’re asked.
Reality: Interviewers ask questions to find out how you think and work, not to quiz you. Instead, they’re interested in how you approach problems, how you interact with others and whether you can tell an informative story about your career briefly.
Myth 4: The person who is most qualified will get the job.
Reality: This is one of the biggest myths out there. There are many reasons why the most qualified person doesn’t get the job: he doesn’t fit with company culture, his salary expectations are out of line, he simply isn’t what the company is looking for. Don’t worry if you’re going up against someone who is more qualified than you — look for ways to show that you work well with others and are interested in training.
Myth 5: There’s no way to really prepare for an interview; just wing it and you’ll be fine.
Reality: This myth gets exposed pretty easily. It’s painfully obvious when someone hasn’t prepared for an interview — she is dressed incorrectly, doesn’t ask questions, seems surprised when asked about her resume, and so on. Before your job interview, talk to your recruiter about what you need to know about the company and find out specifics about the culture.
Myth 6: Ask about the salary early on so you can see if the interview is worth it.
Reality: It’s true, you may be wasting your time in an interview because the company can’t possibly match your salary expectations. However, there is no reason at all to ask about salary at the beginning of the interview — and many job consultants recommend not talking about it all during the first interview. If you fear that that the salary may be too low for you, concentrate on knocking your interview out of the park — once they see what a valuable employee you could be, you might change some minds about the salary budget.
Myth 7: Leave your questions to the end.
Reality: There’s always a spot at the end of the interview for you to ask questions, and no one wants to be caught tongue-tied at this point. But it makes a good impression if you are able to ask questions during the interview, and makes the interview feel more like a conversation between peers. You can save a question for the end if you want, but definitely ask questions as they come up during the interview.
Myth 8: Give the interviewer as much information as you can.
Reality: As much as the interviewer wants to hear about what a strong worker you are, she is also looking for reasons to eliminate you from the pool. She is looking for red flags in your answers while you are talking, so answer the question quickly, without over explaining your answer.
Myth 9: List your strengths whenever you can.
Reality: By all means, talk about what you do well. But talk about them carefully! Instead of listing your strengths, list what you’ve done with them. Give specific examples about how you use your abilities to make things happen. Interviewers are interested in what you can do — not how you can describe yourself.
Myth 10: Thank-you notes are old-fashioned.
Reality: It’s never a bad idea to follow up with the person you interviewed with and thank them for their time. It’s also a good time to add information about your background, or extend an answer to a question that might have caught you off guard the first time around. Knowing how to manage these interview myths will make you a better job candidate.
Talk to a recruiter at Infinity Consulting Solutions if you have any questions on how to debunk any job interview myths you might come across.