Preparing for a job interview can be a scary thing and unless you’ve actually experienced them first-hand, you’re probably asking your parents, friends, professors, or the internet for help. The tricky thing here is that everyone has an opinion. Oftentimes the answers you get will clash with each other, be outdated, or are flat out untrue. We’ve got a list of some of those bogus interview myths and the some of the realities behind them.
Myth #1: Nice, meaty resume means it’s a done deal
Some people like to plan ahead. They load up on extra-curriculars, internships, learn new languages and skills so that when the time comes, their resumes will speak for themselves. You can have the most impressive resume in the pile but if you can back it up in person, it will never be enough. Employers want workers who have the potential to do, not those who appear to have the potential.
Tip: Aside from impressing in person, there are different ways you can supplement your resume to help you stand out.
Myth #2: All interview questions have a right answer
You can read up on all the best ways to answer interview questions but the truth is a) you have no way of knowing what the questions will be and b) there is no right answer to any of them. There are good answers, bad answers, and answers that will get you the job. Try not answering the questions correctly but intelligently.
Tip: Your best bet is to research the company you are applying to and while remaining truthful, tailor your answers to what the company does, stands for, aspires to, etc.
Myth #3: I uploaded my resume on [job site], now I’ll wait for them to get in touch.
I am a personal victim to this one. When I started looking for a job, I signed myself up on all the job sites, uploaded my resume, clicked “Apply here” and just waited. I thought that my resume would do the work for me (Myth #1!). Some companies responded but not any of the ones I really wanted. The anxiety of waiting was torture enough and I picked up the phone, called the company, and inquired about the status of my application. It turns out that my application slipped through the cracks and if I hadn’t called, I never would have gotten the interview.
Tip: You have to be proactive about your applications. Don’t pester the company but make sure your application gets to them.
Myth#4: “Tell me about yourself.” is irrelevant
This is a trick question at interviews. Given the limited time, do you really think that the interviewer is interested in knowing about your family, love of dogs, and what your favorite food or movie is? Career author and coach David Couper says, “Interviewers are looking for someone who can do the job, fit in with the culture, and not cause trouble… If you can demonstrate that you can do that, you will get the job.”
Tip: Couper says that the best approach is to bring up how you are fit for the role, what you can accomplish in it, and reference previous successes or experiences to illustrate that.
Myth #5: High grades + degree = good job
The founders of Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple didn’t graduate from college; the founders of Tumblr, Virgin, and Disney didn’t even finish high school. While these guys were chance hits, it says something about our focus on good grades and the best education. They are not guarantees for good jobs. You have to be able to sell yourself, your skills, and go through a lot of dirty work before you can land a good job. If you are or were at the bottom of your class, fret not because there is hope for us all!
Tip: Learn the art of hustling. It can do wonders beyond your job interview.
Myth #6: The most qualified applicant gets the job
The myth of interview myths. Contrary to popular belief, the most qualified applicant does not always get the job. Employers are looking for people who fit the job description and that entails fitting in with company culture, the skills requirements, work ethic and results production, and sometimes the interviewer’s gut feel. Though having great credentials is a plus, it doesn’t mean anything until a job offer is made.
Tip: Don’t stress. Work on the strengths that you do have as opposed to cramming for the ones you don’t.
Myth #7: “You’re a good speaker/extroverted, the interview will be easy!”
No, this doesn’t make the interview easy. If you speak well but know nothing about the company or have vague goals, you will fall flat on your face. A stutterer with a clear vision of his place and what he can offer to a company can easily out interview a debate champ who didn’t do his research. Companies want variety in their employees so introverts have fair shot too. More importantly, they want someone who can prove that they can do the job and do it well.
Tip: If you’re extroverted, think of what to say before opening your mouth. If you’re introverted, practice in front of a mirror or with a friend.