Note: this is a guest post from Liam Fisher.
Interviews are a painful ordeal. It’s never fun to put yourself under a microscope to be examined by others, and even worse to be forced to ingratiate yourself to strangers. But, alas, interviews are a fact of life. So to help get you through them with minimum discomfort and ensure you’ll attend the fewest possible, here’s how to avoid common and potentially disastrous misconceptions about the interview process.
1. Recruiters Have Your Best Interest in Mind
While recruiters are undeniably helpful in the job hunt and share many of your interests, ultimately their alliance is to the employer. They want to fill the position with the best candidate and at the best salary rate for the company.
2. The Most Qualified Candidate Gets the Job
No. The best fit gets the job. Employers look for team players, personable individuals, trainable workers, and will often prefer less qualified candidates they can hire for less and train without having to alter any preconceived notions or methodologies.
3. An Elaborate Resume Will Impress
This is business. It needs to be streamlined, efficient, clear, and easily consumable. A spare, well-designed resume will always trump a rococo one.CC via Flickr
4. I Should ‘Just Be Myself’
Eh, not really. This is vacuous advice. No matter what you do, you can’t help but be yourself. Obviously, I’m not suggesting you lie or fabricate, but an interview is not a casual event. It means presenting your most polished, prim and proper self––putting your best foot forward. Adjust your speech, dress, demeanor, and attitude accordingly.
5. Bring a Drink
Some feel bringing a bottle of water to an interview is a good idea. It occupies the hands, rescues you from nervous dry mouth, and appears casual––right? Right. But you want to avoid all of these things. A bottle gives you something to fiddle with awkwardly, indicates you have nervous dry mouth, and seems too casual for a formal setting.
6. They’ve Read My Resume
Not always. So don’t assume they have. Never regurgitate your resume during an interview, but it is a good idea to refer to its contents a few times. When they read it later, it will spark their memory. If they’ve already read it you’ll reinforce their memory of your strengths.
7. I Should Talk (Constantly)
No. It is a conversation. Aim for about 50/50 dialogue with the interviewer. Ask questions, listen, learn––you’ll appear more sociable and interested in the position.CC via Flickr
8. Maintain Eye Contact At All Costs
Even though eye contact is a must in interviews, don’t go overboard. At some point, prolonged eye contact just becomes creepy and awkward. Project confidence, but don’t unnerve.
State your strengths and qualifications plainly. Highlight your accomplishments, but stick to the facts, and don’t try to oversell yourself.
10. Employers Won’t See My Online Profile
Actually, these days most of them will. In fact, employers are increasingly using social media to scope out prospective employees, and some might even ask for your passwords under the aegis of performing some sort of background check. So you should probably get rid of that photo of that two-story beer bong you did in college.
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