Interview Myths

More nervous energy is wasted over interviews than any other part of the career process. Although few people actually enjoy interviews, they do not need to be the one thing that keeps you awake at night.

There are several job interview myths that may prevent you from performing well at interview.

Myth 1: Interviewers make their mind up in the first two minutes

There is actually a lot of truth in this myth. Very basic things such as your personal habits and dress code can make a big difference. If a candidate who looks ideal on paper turns up in the wrong attire then this will get your interview off to a bad start.

You can rescue a bad interview, however it’s better not let it get off to a bad start. If you feel that you have made a mistake, or said something you wish you hadn’t, you can address it directly. You may say something such as, “I would like to rephrase my answer to the previous question…” This may be particularly important if you are so disturbed by what you said that you do not think you will be able to give focused answers to the remaining questions. No interviewer will think negatively of you if you have to revisit or readdress something that you have previously said.

Myth 2: You need to spend hours memorising the best answers

This is a myth. There are five main questions you will be asked at interview:

Why are you here? Meaning….. “Why are you interviewing at my company, rather than someone else’s company?”

What can you do for us? Meaning….. “what are your skills, and how much do you know about some subject or field that is of interest to us? What additional values/skills/experience can you give the Company that we do not already have or know about? If I were to hire you would you be part of the problems I already have, or would you be able to find a solution to the problems?

What kind of person are you? Meaning….. “Do you have the kind of personality that makes it easy for people to work with you, and do you share our Company values, are you going to fit in to our work culture, are you going to be a positive or negative influence on the rest of the work force”

What makes you different from the fifteen other people who can do the same tasks and have the same skills as you? Meaning….. “Do you have better work habits than the fifteen others, do you show up earlier, do you stay later, work more thoroughly, work faster, work harder, maintain higher standards, go the extra mile, or … what?”

What is your price? Meaning….. “If we decide to take you onboard, how much will it take to get you onboard? Are we willing and able to pay that amount, dictated by our budget, and by our inability to pay you as much as the person who would be above you on the organisational chart? Also if fifteen people are applying for the same job and the candidates have the same skills and attributes do you want to risk losing the job because you are playing hard ball over 2k per annum. (The other fourteen candidates may be happy to take a lesser salary because they are excited about the opportunity placed before them. Make sure you know what is important to you and the full facts. Have you taken into consideration all the benefits: pensions, holidays, bonus, travel distance to work, job satisfaction, career development, training and general overview of the company.

Interview myth 3: There is a competition between candidate and interviewer

Interviews are meant to be challenging, the interviewer wants to know that you can perform well under pressure. THERE IS NO COMPETITION!  The aim of the candidate and the interviewer is: Are you are right for the job and is the job is right for you. A good interviewer, conducting a good structured interview is looking for opportunities for you to appear at your best.  After all… the best is what the client wants.

Interview myth 4: Lying to achieve success

Some unethical recruitment consultants have been known to suggest “elaborating” the truth to a candidate. This seldom, if ever, works. Firstly because once you start you will find yourself getting in deeper and secondly because you would lay yourself open to instant dismissal if your employer finds out. There is a huge difference between lying and not telling the whole truth. The latter is perfectly acceptable — as long as your aim is not to mislead — you are not under oath in a court of law.