Ten Job Interview Myths Debunked

1. The interviewer is prepared.

The person interviewing you is likely harried and overworked, because he needs to hire someone. He may have barely glanced at your résumé and given no thought to your qualifications.

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2. The interviewer asks good questions.

Many interviewers prepare no questions in advance beyond “Tell me about yourself.” “They usually just wing it,” says Couper.

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3. They want you to accept their offer of refreshment.

Interviewers feel obliged to be polite and offer you a drink, but they do not really want to go fetch that cup of tea.

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4. The interviewer wants additional materials like references.

Unless you’re a designer or writer, the interviewer does not want you to hand over reports or reference materials.

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5. There’s a right answer to an interviewer’s question.

When you’re asked a tough question, the interviewer is usually more interested in seeing how you go about addressing it than in precisely what you end up saying.

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6. You should keep your answers short.

The interviewer doesn’t want to have to think of another question to ask you. “If you’re giving information that’s hitting what they need to know, then they’re happy,” says Couper.

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7. Hiring managers value skills over physical attractiveness.

There’s a lot of research that demonstrates that looks do matter, Couper says. What should an unattractive job seeker do? “Plastic surgery,” he deadpans.

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8. When they ask where you want to be in five years, they want you to demonstrate ambition.

What they really want: your willingness to toil away at the same job happily and indefinitely.

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9. If you’re invited to an interview, the job is still open.

Frequently hiring managers just go through the motions of interviewing candidates after having picked an inside applicant or someone with a personal connection to the company.

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10. The most qualified person gets the job.

Couper himself says he’s hired less qualified but friendlier applicants over more talented job seekers who seemed they might be difficult to get along with.

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Ten Job Interview Myths Debunked