The Five Myths of the Job Interview

The job search process is riddled with myths. Or as the popular quote goes, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

One of the biggest myths in the world when searching for a job is this:  I have a big network therefore I will be able to find another job quickly.

A Big Network Is No Guarantee

That is just not true, especially if you are in one of the industries like healthcare or retail where there is an imbalance of too many candidates and not enough available positions.

When it comes to interviewing for a new job, the problem for most applicants is it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. 

There are some interesting myths when it comes to interviewing for a job, so let’s take a look at a few of those today:

1. I excel in delivering PowerPoint presentations, therefore I do well in job interviews. 

Not necessarily. They are really two different presentation mediums.  With PowerPoint, you have a roadmap with a set of specific communications goals.  In an interview, you are engaged in an extemporaneous speech contest with 60 questions. 

2. I am an effective CEO therefore I am effective in interviews. 

Here you are trying to connect two dissimilar skills.  You may indeed be an effective CEO, but I have interviewed dozens upon dozens of successful CEOs who were less than stellar job interview.

3. Being prepared for a job interview means that I have researched the prospective employer.

That is only half of the homework assignment.  Understanding the employer’s needs and the challenges they face is certainly important, but most candidates spend little or no time preparing to answer frequently asked questions that, over the years, have wreaked havoc for executive candidates. Questions like:  Tell me about your weaknesses, or tell me about your biggest career setback?  I have seen candidates struggle with relatively straight forward questions because they did not take the time to prepare – to do the other half of the homework.

4. It is all about my experience.

Your experience IS important, but having a good record of accomplishment is no guarantee that you will advance in the search.  Most of the candidates have impressive records or they would not be under active consideration. 

You must be prepared to deliver your answers in a way that will engage the interviewer. 

5. Sharing aspects of my personal life – growing up – or experiences from earlier in my career are not relevant.

This is just not so.  Some of the most effective candidates consistently weave into their answers experiences from their earlier life – their values, their commitments to the career, their leadership style.   The research is very clear that the most effective candidates are practiced storytellers who deliver memorable answers.

Good Communication Is Key

In a competitive job market, the candidates who advance, the candidates who land the best jobs, are typically the best communicators.

Mastering the art of the job interview is one of the most important skills an executive can develop.

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