You’ve probably heard the story from a friend about how their interviewer asked them to “sell this pen” or how their interviewer showed no emotions, and that’s enough to get anyone worried about going on an interview. It’s completely normal to feel nervous and jittery because you want to make a great first impression and show that you’re the best candidate for the role, but don’t be scared! There are many misconceptions about the interview process, and we’re here to alleviate some of that stress by sharing our top 10 interview myths.
Dressing appropriately for an interview is important, whether you need to wear a suit or a casual blouse and jeans. If you show up in sweatpants and messy hair, chances are, you won’t make it to the second round of interviews, but your clothing isn’t the only thing that will give you a good first impression. You should always greet everyone, even the person at the front desk, with a smile. When you meet your interviewer, stand up and introduce yourself. Then, ask how they are doing and thank them for taking the time to speak with you. It’s not just about your appearance—verbal and nonverbal gestures, as well as your overall demeanor, are just as important in making a great first impression.
Yes, you can’t fully prepare for every interview, but you can still do some research beforehand. How? Make sure you know as much about the actual job and company as you can. Check out their website, LinkedIn, and any other social media that they have. What should you look for? See if they have any core values, and learn about their history. Sometimes, they might even have a webpage on what they’re looking for in potential employees. You can also stop by before your interview to get a sense of the work environment and introduce yourself to current employees. If you know who you will be interviewing with, do some research on them. Did they go to college? Did they work anywhere else before working there? Even if you can figure out what sports team they like, this is a great conversation starter—and a way for you to stand out and be remembered.
It’s exciting to go to an interview! You get to see what the physical work environment is like, and you get the opportunity to meet some of their current employees. You also get the chance to ask questions and learn more about the role you applied for. However, you’re not going to be an expert on the company in 15 or 30 minutes, so don’t stress about it. This is one of the top interview myths!
Recruiters have busy schedules, and more often than not, you aren’t going to be their first interview of the day, or their last. Although they will probably look over your resume ahead of time and have questions ready to ask, they aren’t spending hours preparing for your specific interviewer.
When asking questions, they also aren’t trying to trick you. This is another one of the top interview myths! They might ask questions that seem random or hard to answer, but their goal is to learn about you. They’ve already seen your qualifications on your resume, so instead, they want to know what your work ethic is like, how well you communicate, and other skills you have that may not be explicitly stated on your resume. And those tricky questions? They want to see how well you can handle yourself under pressure.
While there are a lot of wrong answers you can give, there are no right answers. So, don’t base your answer on what you think the interviewer wants to hear. These are open-ended questions because it’s a way for them to understand who you are and who you could potentially become if you worked there. Think about it this way, if there was a right answer to these questions, how would they differentiate candidates? You can alter your answer like if you know a certain trait, like time management, is important to the company, but trying to design your answer to please them will make you sound unnatural, and it won’t help you get to the next phase of the hiring process.
It’s always a good idea to have a few questions in the back of your mind to ask at the end of the interview; you can still ask any questions that come up during it. This will show that you are actively listening and that you’re engaged in the conversation. You also might forget some of the questions that you thought of during the interview. If you decide to ask a question in the middle of the interview, let them finish their point before asking anything— you don’t want to cut them off.
Just because you sent in your application and showed up for the interview, it doesn’t automatically show you want the job. Many people apply to jobs and don’t have any interest in pursuing a career there. Interviewers want to know that you are eager to work. Express to them how excited you are to potentially work there, and as always, prepare ahead of time to learn as much as you can about the place. This initiative will show that you are serious about wanting to work there.
There’s a big difference between soft and hard skills. Another candidate might have gone to a better school than you or has more work experience in that field, but that doesn’t make them an ideal employee. Most of the time, what you need to know is learned on the job. Demonstrating your soft skills in an interview is important. Are you friendly? Do you work well with others? Do you welcome challenges? These qualities can’t necessarily be defined on a resume, yet they are essential in any role. Hiring managers want employees who are ready to work and learn as much as possible, so be enthusiastic, and sell yourself, instead of worrying about what you look like on paper.
Even if you don’t send a hand-written thank-you note, you should at least send your interviewer an email thanking them for speaking with you and express your confidence in working with their organization. Not many applicants send thank-you letters, so this is one more way for you to stand out. This is also a chance for you to emphasize anything you said during your interview. Or, if there was a question you felt that you didn’t answer well enough, this is, in a way, a second chance for you to answer it. Thank-you notes also show that you have strong written communication skills.
While you should always present yourself professionally, the interviewer is taking the time to meet with you, your real, authentic self, so don’t put on a show. Think about it this way, you’re also interviewing them to see if this company and role is a good fit for you. If you aren’t yourself, it will be impossible to figure out if you’re a good fit. Even if the job description is exactly what you’re looking for, you still need to consider the workplace culture and what other employees are like there.
What are some interview myths you’ve heard about? Let us know on our social media!
Download the Top-Rated Job App to get a job in 24 hours!
For more helpful content, check out our blog.