Think you are free from the chains of academia and can now roam freely to do what you want in real life? Or maybe get a job? For those who don’t have any experience with job interviews, they might ask the people around them, their family and friends, or even the Internet for tips or advice on how to ace a job interview.
But like all kinds of advice not all of them is good advice. As time goes on, some of the ‘experience’ that well-meaning friends share with you are not even applicable to the current job-seeking atmosphere anymore. Here are top 10 misconceptions about job interviews that you might want to keep an eye out for.
1. Your Resume Must Be One Page Long Only
Your resume must only have one page because it was believed that interviewers won’t read your resume if it’s more than that. This is not true. It is quite dificult to summarize your whole list of achievements, contact info, objectives or relevant qualifications in a single page.
Reducing the font size or cramping too much of everything in, just to fit this one-page rule not only sounds ridiculous, it may also ruin the good impression the recruiter may have of you. You can expand this to two pages but it is best to keep the maximum length at that.
2. No Call? No Job
So you have submitted your application and have waited days for the interviewer to call you but… no luck. Does that mean that you should move on since "someone else must have gotten the job"? Well, not quite.
Recruiters are a busy lot and usually only begin calling the selected candidates after the closing date of the job notice or a couple of weeks after your submission.
If you don’t get a call after applying, you can always send an enquiry email or give them a call to ask if they have hired someone for the spot, and you would probably find that they are still in the midst of processing the applications.
3. They Called, I’m Still In The Running
So you got the call, congratulations! Not trying to be a wet blanket here but sometimes you are called to interview for jobs that don’t even exist. Often enough companies invite applicants for interviews for the purpose of company studies or research to minimize expenses on recruitment research.
Instead of asking questions about you, they might ask questions how the working environment in your current or last work place, how much is your salary scale, what benefits you are enjoying etc. Even if you are caught in one of these ‘traps’, keep your chin up, you don’t know what it can lead too.
4. The Interviewer Is Well-Prepared
While being well-prepared is good for an interview, this rule will probably only apply to the candidates. Most interviewers have other more pressing matters to deal with and will only take a little of their time to prepare for your first meet up with them. Don’t expect them to have read your resume through and through. If they did, there wouldn’t have been a need for you to tell them "about yourself" at the start of the interview.
Take the opportunity to pitch yourself or your skills and make "you" stand out of the crowd. Highlight your strengths and other discerning factors and be prepared to be asked questions that clearly show that they have never even looked at your application.
5. Interviewers Will Ask All The Same Questions
Although you know what to say when they ask you about your strengths and weaknesses, the skills you can bring to the company and how you can help improve the company brand, sometimes they will throw you a curve ball and ask you a really strange question.
Trick questions like "How many balloons fit inside of San Francisco?" are popular with larger companies where the competition is really high. These questions can help them tell apart those who are creative from those who are book smart. How will you approach a seemingly overwhelming question like that? How will you react? That’s what they are looking for. Either that or they just like to see sweat through the rest of the interview.
6. Looks Don’t Matter, Heart Does
Fairy tales may end with the lesson that no matter how you look on the outside, it’s the inside that counts. But when it comes to reality, the human instinct is to stick to the winner, or anyone who looks like one.
Recruiters want candidates who look fresh, confident, energetic and enthusiastic. You don’t have to be Prince Charming but proper personal grooming and how you present yourself will definitely influence how much recruiters want you to join them. While we’re on the subject…
7. The Most Qualified Person Gets The Job
While being qualified gives the applicants a headstart, the job interview is more like a date. You might not be the most qualified but if there’s chemistry between you and the interviewer you most likely still stand a chance to be the winning candidate for the job.
Also, academic qualifications may have gotten you through the door, but that’s not the only thing interviewers are looking at. They need you to convince them that you are the man (or woman) for the job, that you can be a great addition to the company instead of just being dead weight.
8. Accept When Offered A Beverage
Interviewers may try to be accommodating and ask you if you would like tea, coffee or any other beverage. While the polite thing to do is to accept the offer, unless the mentioned drink is right in front of your eyes, decline it.
You may be making the interviewer go out of their way to get you a drink, when all they are there to do is decide just how good you are as a new addition to the family. And imagine if you’re in a lengthy interview, you sure won’t want your bladder to be full halfway through it. You’re already nervous enough as it is.
9. List Out All Your References
In some places, checking up with the references is only a practice used by human resources to confirm that you have previously worked where you said you did. Most of the time these references may never be contacted at all. However you can use this to your strategy. After the interview you would have gotten a sense of what the recruiters think of you or seek from you.
There is still time to pick the reference who can give you a leg up in the right sense, provided that you have contacted them beforehand and explained your situation to them.
10. Keep Your Answers Short
How would you feel if you ask someone a lengthy question, expecting a similarly lengthy answer only to get, "Yes, I think so" and "No, I don’t think that." as your answers? It’s okay to open up and talk about the company or to explain yourself when you are asked a question, particularly if you have done your homework.