Lies We Tell Ourselves About Job Interviews
Guest Contributor: Michael Neece, CEO, InterviewMastery.com
I present frequently to groups large (200+) and small on job interview skills, and I am constantly amazed at the harmful lies people tell themselves about job interviews.
Few will argue about the importance of having a great resume; after all, it is the resume that generates job interviews. But nearly all job seekers minimize the importance of their own job interview skills. Minimizing the importance of interview skills reduces the probability of getting the job offer because it is only through an exceptional job interview performance that you'll get hired.
17-to-one is the ratio of job interviews to job offers during a recession. During a recession, the average applicant will interview for 17 different opportunities before he/she gets one job offer. When job openings are plentiful and candidates are in high demand, the ratio drops to 6-to-1, meaning it takes only 6 interviews to get an offer during the good times. The lesson here is that without interview skills, you'll waste 6 to 17 job opportunities before you get good enough at interviews to get an offer. (Article Continued Below)
Below are six lies (assumptions) we tell ourselves about job interviews:
"I'll do great on my job interviews because…"
1. I'm Great at My Job.
The skills required to get the job are fundamentally different from the skills required to do a job. If you have ever looked for a job you know this all too well.
2. I'm a Good Communicator
Being a good communicator is a good start, but most of our business communicating is one-on-one or in a setting where you are talking about work. During the job interview, you are often speaking with multiple interviewers and responding to thought-provoking questions about you and your talents. Convincing an interviewer of your abilities is a unique situation in the world of business communications.
3. I've Interviewed Hundreds of People
Being an interviewer is different from being interviewed. Just ask anyone who has been interviewed recently. I consult internationally to organizations on interviewer skills. I also present to thousands each year on job interviewing for the job seeker. While the interviewer and the interviewee are in the same room, each is playing a different role that requires different skills to be successful. It's a bit like dancing. One person leads while the other follows. The skills to lead are very different from the talents needed to follow. When each partner does his/her part, they dance beautifully. When the job applicant has the skills, he/she facilitates a conversation and usually gets the offer.
4. I've Had Many Practice Interviews
Learning by trial and error can teach you a few things about effective interviewing, but it wastes a lot of great job opportunities. Besides, practicing the same unproductive job interview ritual will only make you comfortable with ineffective habits that can really hurt your career.
5. Interviewers Have Interviewing Skills
Having traveled internationally to train interviewers, I can state with certainty that over 95% of interviewers are unskilled and have had no training on effective interviewing. That is exactly why interviewers still ask totally irrelevant and bogus questions like, “Tell me about yourself,” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” When an interviewers asks you one of these questions, you know they are completely unskilled at interviewing.
6. The Most Qualified, Get Hired Most of the Time
Eleven years as a recruiter taught me one truth about the job market: the most qualified person never gets hired. The reason is that who is the most qualified is a matter of interviewer opinions, assumptions, and personal bias. Additionally, a job description is actually a collection of guesses as to what the prerequisites are for a specific job. A job description is a way for the hiring manager to say, “I want to hire someone who has already done, many times, what I want him or her to do for me.”
To secure a great job, you can either continue lying to yourself and go through 17 interviews before you get an offer, or you can invest the energy to learn successful job interviewing and significantly increase your odds of getting a great job sooner.
Whether you try Interview Mastery or another job interview program is irrelevant. What really matters, is that you improve your interview skills. Common advice is everywhere on the Internet, but this common wisdom will only get you common results.
If you don't want to invest any money in yourself, at least make a list of the interview questions you expect and those that you fear. Then ask a former colleague to mock interview you using the questions you listed. Record the mock interview using audio or video. You may be surprised at how you actually sound.Remember, the job interview is the most important moment in your job search and in your career.
While your resume may get you to the interview, it is your job interview skills that will secure the job offer. Preparation and practice make all the difference in your performance because the most qualified person rarely gets the job. It's the person who interviews the best who wins the job offer.
Good luck on your next interview. You're going to be awesome!
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