Here at Work Opportunities Unlimited, we interview candidates day in and day out, and it goes without saying that we’ve done our fair share of myth-busting when it comes to the interview process. Whether they got bad advice from a friend or don’t realize times have changed, some people who walk through our doors are either misinformed or are under the wrong assumption when it comes to current interview practices. Sometimes, believing these misconceptions mean they punish themselves by foregoing a glass of water that was offered to them, and other times, it jeopardizes their chances for a new career. Luckily for you, we’re here to set you straight and share some of these myths with you so you can start off the interview process on the right foot.
- If offered, you shouldn’t accept anything to drink.
Actually, you should accept when offered a beverage. By doing so, you’ll not only have a refreshment on hand in case you get thirsty half-way through the interview, you’ll also put the interviewer at ease for accepting the offer because you’re showing appreciation for their gesture. Just make sure that you don’t ask for anything too complicated that takes time away from your interview (cappuccino, anyone?).
- You won’t be talking about your resume during your interview.
Let’s face it—people are busy these days. You can’t assume that your interviewer has had the time to read your resume, and even if they did, you can’t assume that yours stood out enough that they’ll remember you went to the same college or that you have 10 years of experience working with a certain CRM software. Take the time to read your own resume before walking into the interview so you can talk intelligently about your past experience and bring a few copies along with you just for good measure.
- You should make sure the job is right for you by asking about salary during the first interview.
There’s a time and a place for talking about salary, and in fact, in some states, it’s even illegal for the interviewer to ask about your salary history before an offer has been made. However, we’re not talking about the interviewer here. We’re talking about you, during the interview, and the answer is that you should leave the word “salary” out of your vocabulary during the initial interview.
- As long as you dress appropriately, you’ll make a good first impression.
Your choice of clothing will definitely be one of the first things your interviewer will notice about you, but if you walk in reeking of garlic or sporting a nose ring, those impressions will stick with the interviewer just as much as your brand-name suit.
- Thank-you notes are a thing of the past.
While thank-you notes might some across as “old school”, they are definitely not. Sure, you might send a note via email instead of snail mail nowadays, but however you send it, make sure you thank everyone who took the time to meet with you during the interview process.
- The most qualified person always gets the job.
Not true! The most qualified person sometimes gets the job, while other times it’s the person with some qualifications who would be a good cultural fit, the person with the biggest personality, or the hiring manager’s daughter. Qualifications are only a part of the equation.
- Interviewers ask trick questions to trip you up.
While it’s true that interviewers occasionally ask trick questions, they aren’t meant to “trip you up.” Instead, they are asked so they can get a true perspective of who you are without hearing a canned response.
- You should save your questions until the end of the interview.
While it’s important to have one or two questions ready when the interviewer asks if you have any, feel free to ask questions as they arise during the interview. You’ll not only appear engaged in the conversation, you’ll also reduce the risk that you forget to ask the question at the end.
- You can learn everything you need to learn about the company during the interview.
If you show up to the interview knowing only the name of the company, the address, and the interviewer’s name, you’re putting yourself at a severe disadvantage. Prior to the interview, do your homework: get a sense of what the company does, what their mission is, and where they stand among the competition. Hint: check out our blog for tips on how to research an employer.
- A well-written resume is all you need to get you in the door.
A well-written resume is only a small piece of the puzzle. You’ll also need a carefully crafted cover letter, an ability to follow through, and sometimes even an internal person to put in a good word for you.