Myth no. 6: If you answer the questions better than the others, you’ll get the job
Being able to articulate good answers in an interview is very important, and failure to do so will almost certainly mean you don’t get the job. However, interviews—as we’ve already seen—are much more than just giving good answers. They’re also about convincing the interviewer that you will be a nice person to work with. To put it another way, it doesn’t matter how good your answers are technically, if the interviewer doesn’t like you there’s not much chance you’ll get the job (unless your talents are unique, extremely difficult to find or the interviewer is desperate). So avoid thinking about interviews just in terms of answering questions correctly. Interviews are also about establishing rapport and trust, and whilst there is no fail-safe method in doing this, there are things you can do (and things you should not do) that will go a long way towards improving your skills in this all-important area of interviewing.
Myth no. 7: You should try to give the perfect answer
I’ve heard too many people stumble over their words, repeat themselves and talk in circles. Because they’re trying to articulate the perfect answer—or what they think constitutes the perfect answer. Some people are so obsessed with delivering the perfect answer that they don’t stop until they produce what in their opinion is a word perfect response. Because we can never be entirely sure of what the interviewer wants to hear. Some of us will keep on talking in the hope that we’ll cover all bases. The problem with this approach is that we end up talking too much, leading to the interviewer losing concentration— which, of course, is the last thing you need at an interview. The reality is that in most cases there is no such thing as the perfect answer. The lesson here is: it makes a lot of sense to settle for a good answer that gets to the point rather than meander all over the place searching for the elusive perfect answer.
Myth no. 8: You must ask questions to demonstrate your interest and intelligence
Many interviewees are under the mistaken belief that they must ask questions at the end of the interview. There seems to be a common belief amongst many interviewees that this makes them sound more intelligent as well as more interested in the job. This is not true. Asking questions simply for the sake of doing so won’t improve your chances of getting a job. It could even make you sound a little dull—especially if you ask questions about matters that were already covered during the course of the interview. Only ask a question if you have a genuine query.
Acceptable questions include those relating directly to the job you’re applying for, as well as working conditions and company policies on such things as on pay, leave, and so on. Interviewers never mind answering questions about such matters, but they do mind answering questions they perceive to be irrelevant. If you have no questions to ask, simply say something like: ‘Thank you, but I have no questions. You’ve been very thorough during the course of the interview and have covered all the important matters regarding the job. There’s nothing wrong with including a compliment to the interviewer about their thoroughness and professionalism—provided it doesn’t go over the top or sound like groveling.
Myth no. 9: Relax and just be yourself
Whilst it is important to be relaxed and show your better side, it is also very important to understand that interviews are not social engagements. Most interviews are highly formalized events in which otherwise innocuous behaviors are deemed unacceptable. In short, being your usual self could spell disaster (as contradictory as that may sound). For example, if being yourself means leaning back on your chair, dressing somewhat shabbily and making jokes, you might find yourself attending an inordinate number of interviews. Whilst interviewers like people to be relaxed, they also have definite expectations about what behaviors are appropriate for an interview— and you violate these expectations at your peril!
Myth no. 10: Interviewers are looking for flaws
The danger with this myth is that it can easily lead to interviewees adopting a defensive, perhaps even distrustful, attitude during the interview. If you believe that the interviewer is assiduously searching for your flaws, it will more than likely undermine your attempts to establish that all-important rapport and trust. It may also prevent you from opening up and giving really good answers. Rest assured that most interviewers do not prepare their interview questions with a view to uncovering your flaws. Questions are mostly prepared with a view to giving the interviewer an overall or holistic insight into what you have to offer the company.
A good interviewer
A good interviewer will indeed uncover areas in which you are not strong, but that is a far cry from thinking that the interviewer is hell bent on uncovering only your flaws. It is very important to treat every question as an opportunity to excel rather than being unnecessarily guarded. It is only by answering the questions that you can demonstrate how good you are. To treat questions as objects of suspicion makes no sense at all.