A quick look at what is myth and what is true may help you sort out fact from myth in the interviewing process.

MYTH #1

You should try not to be nervous in the interview.

TRUTH

EVERYBODY gets nervous. It’s OK to be nervous.
Not only is it OK to be nervous, it is essential for you to accept the way you feel. It is very unrealistic to tell yourself you should be different from the way you really are. It just makes you feel worse about yourself.
What’s the worst thing that can happen? For many people the worst thing that can happen is “rejection” – not getting an offer. Did you ever think that maybe the job wasn’t right for you? Try to look at the process from another perspective – as a learning experience.

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Give yourself credit for getting an interview – only a small percentage of people get this far in the process. Give yourself credit for going out there and putting yourself on the line, even though it is painful for you. Give yourself permission to not get job offers. Believe that an offer will come through when it is the right offer – the right fit for the company and for you.

MYTH #2

The interviewer is out to get you.

TRUTH

The interviewer is hoping that you are the person that he is looking for.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU.

It may make you less nervous if you realize that your interviewer could be just as nervous as you. He is not necessarily enjoying the experience because it is not his area of expertise, unless it is part of his job. Usually hiring managers are good at what they do best – and that is not necessarily interviewing.

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There is no fool proof method for success in dealing with an interviewer’s lack of skills.
Try not to let this affect your performance or attitude during the interview. Be aware that some interviewers have problems with interviewing, and be prepared to deal with the situation ahead of time so you won’t be caught off guard and blame yourself.

MYTH #3

The first impression is the MOST important part of the interview.

TRUTH

While the first impression is important – it is only a part of the decision making process if your interviewer is doing a good job of interviewing.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU.

Sometimes you can get off on the wrong foot – for whatever reason. Don’t lose your cool. All is not lost. Just think positive thoughts and take a deep breath. Try to retain control and give it your best shot.

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Demeanor and appearance head the list of things that people judge you on, especially in the interview. Grooming is the first essential to making a good impression. If you know you look good, you will feel good, and your confidence will be boosted.

MYTH #4

Your job in an interview is to sell yourself.

TRUTH

While you are giving your interviewer information on you to convince him that you are the best person for the job that is only half of the interview process. You should be checking “them” out as well. Would you want to spend 8-10 hours every work day with these people? In this position?

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU

One of the worst ways to interview for a job is with the “Please, please hire me attitude.” You are actually interviewing them as they are interviewing you and should be listening to see if you hear any “red flags.” This is a two-way process where you are looking for the best fit for you as they are looking to see if you are a good fit.

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Turn up your intuitive and read between the lines. This means listening and asking questions. When it is your turn to ask questions make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to find out about the things that are important to you.

MYTH #5

You should tell the interviewer as much as possible about you in the interview.

TRUTH

Tell the interviewer what they need to know about you and your uniqueness to do the job. Try to focus on relevant information for the job that you are interviewing for.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU

One common mistake that candidates make when interviewing is talking too much – rambling. It is important that you listen to the question asked and answer that question.
It is very easy to stray off the subject and ramble about things that are not relevant to the job if your answer is too long.

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Keep your answers to two to three minutes at the most. When you limit your time you tend to stay more focused. Watch the interviewer’s eyes – if they “glaze over” you have lost them.

MYTH #6

Nobody hires at the end of the year.

TRUTH

Companies hire all year round. Some departments will have money to spend because of the close of the books at the end of the year and will want to hire and use that money.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU

Don’t let personal distractions like the holidays keep you from putting in the hours necessary to continue your search. Regardless of the season, your job right now is to find a job. Think of this as “going to work.”

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If you find hiring is slow in your industry at this time put your energy into preparation and research. Do research on companies, industries, and positions. Knowledge is power. And, power gives you confidence – something you will need to succeed in the interview.

MYTH #7

The best candidate ALWAYS gets the job.

TRUTH

He who sells himself BEST gets the job.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU

This means that in order to get your point across – sell yourself – in an interview, you must be prepared. It is a big mistake to try and WING the interview. Do some preparation by looking carefully at what the company’s needs are and then putting together your ideas and thoughts about how you can bring something to the job and fill their needs.

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Look at the job postings and ads to see what experiences, skills and traits are in demand for the type of position you are seeking. In fact, look at several job postings that would be of interest to you. Look for words and key factors that employers are seeking in your type of work. Do your preparation around these key words.

Sometimes using common sense will work to help you through the interview but it is important that you be aware of some of the pitfalls of interviewing. Preparation and making a good impression will be a good first step. Preparing and knowing what the employer is looking for will take you to the next level of preparation. And lastly, feeling confident that you can do the job and bring something to the company will be the most important piece of all.