The 10 Most Common Myths About A Job Interview

A job interview, no matter how many times we’ve been in one, always makes us a little nervous. Do you get that little stomach drop when your name is called to come in? It’s perfectly natural to feel nervous, even when you’ve prepped yourself for days.

What many professionals won’t tell you is the myths that are out there about job interviews. There are plenty of antiquated or just plain fake tips out there ready to sabotage your efforts, and they are important to know before the hiring manager calls your name next.

Dressing To Impress Is Old School

Even though attitudes toward workplace attire have evolved from years past, it’s important to dress appropriately for an interview. On the flip side, an interviewer who forms their opinion about candidates purely from the label of a suit might give you an indication of the work environment you should avoid. Ensure your hygiene is good and take hints about what people are wearing from photos of the workplace online.

Don’t Say ‘I Don’t Know’

It’s a given that in an interview you should answer questions with confidence and candor, especially if they are questions specifically about your work history and personal background.

But if a question is posed to you that you don’t immediately know how to answer, you are not being vulnerable nor clueless by not answering with a similar confidence and candor.

Be honest and say you don’t have an immediate answer, but also stress that you want to know the answer.

Body Language Is Telling

The truth is, an interviewer’s body language or facial responses to you or the way you answer questions is not an indicator of how well your interview is going.

There’s a myriad of reasons why someone sits the way they do, or how their face looks for that very small portion of their day. Maybe the interviewer is stressed about something totally unrelated to you?

Body language is not a good indicator of how the interview is going and definitely not an indicator of whether they like a candidate or not.

Short Resumes Work Best

In years past there was a tip that the shorter your resume, the better. In fact, many people swore by having one page only. The reason for this was that supposedly the interviewer’s time was so important and short, you had to advertise yourself the best way possible and in the shortest time possible.

This attitude has totally changed in the modern workforce; in fact many companies have dedicated Human Resources departments or Hiring Managers who spend most of their day looking solely at resumes and candidates.

Always Accept A Beverage

Accepting a beverage prior to your interview would seem like a very innocuous thing, and that would be correct. However, another old interview tip was to always accept what was offered to you, as it would indicate your politeness.

In reality, most companies don’t have a dedicated staff for catering so you might be making your interviewer accommodate you by accepting. It’s actually an inconvenience to them.

Also, why risk needing the bathroom if the interview is a long one or you are already nervous?

Qualifications Will Always Get You The Position

Listing your qualifications on your resume is important, and many job openings require a minimum set of qualifications. But just because you have the highest qualifications won’t mean you will get the position, or even be put into the final group.

Cultural fit, years of experience and how you interview are actually far more important in the eyes of interviewers and hiring managers.

Unfortunately nepotism can trump all these too.

Keep Your Responses Short

This one is easy to disprove, especially if workplace culture is important where you are applying.

How do you feel when you go to a store and ask a question of an employee and they answer with a one word response or blunt, “I don’t know.”

Speaking with a warm and polite tone is far more beneficial than being robotic and sharp.

An interviewer will appreciate your openness and ability to engage with them far more than being a human Siri or Alexa.

The Questions Are Always The Same

A job interview will have some common questions across all interviews with candidates for a position. This is to measure and compare the candidates, obviously. But the assumption that every interview will follow a script is just not true.

Interviewers will go down different paths of questioning so they get to know you better, as no candidate is the same.

If every question was going to be the same, the interviewer could just ask you to fill out a form and not bother meeting you in person, right?

The Interviewer Does The Hiring

This is a natural misconception to make, especially for inexperienced job seekers. Assuming whom you are talking to will do the selecting is a natural, albeit incorrect, assumption to make.

It is more than likely the interviewer will be one of a group who will select a new hire or may only be asked to provide some simple feedback to another panel. Your resume and feedback has a long journey to go on yet.

‘Winging It’ Works

And finally there is something to be said about natural charisma and sounding like you know what you are talking about, but the truth is “winging” the interview will likely not work out in the end.

It’s important to come into the interview with some prior knowledge about what a company does, their philosophy and their reputation. You also want to know what you will say to common questions in interviews and hopefully anticipate what they may ask you at random.