Guest Post By: Michael Klazema
With the summer season nearly upon us, the job search is about to heat up again. From high school and college students looking for summer employment to recent graduates on the hunt for their first job (not to mention all the people who choose the summer as a time to seek new employment), many of us are going to be going on at least a few job interviews in the coming months. Before you head off for an interview with your dream company, however, make sure to peruse the list below for a selection of eight facts and myths about job interviews. Remembering these points and planning for them might just give you the “do” and “don’t” list you need to secure employment!
1. Myth: Your record is clean, so you don’t have to worry about the background check.
This is one of the biggest myths about the employment sector, especially among young people who are just entering the workforce. Most employees require background checks as a part of their job interview process, but young workers especially figure that these checks are nothing to worry about. After all, they are young, fresh out of college, and have never had any run-ins with the law; what’s to worry about? The issue is that names are common and background checks aren’t infallible, meaning that they can easily turn up inaccurate information that torpedoes your job chances. The solution? Run a background check on yourself before you do the interview. You may think your record is clean, but it’s worth a few bucks to see if someone else’s criminal history is sullying your name.
2. Fact: Job interviewers are usually exhausted and stressed.
Few job searchers realize how exhausted, stressed out, and frustrated their interviewers are. But the process of searching for a new employee – from posting the job listing to reviewing resumes and conducting interviews – is a long, tedious, and expensive process. Keep this in mind when you are in interviews, and then try to make things as easy as possible for the person speaking with you. Be polite and friendly, and get to the point with your answers, recapping your resume, outlining your qualifications, and explaining why you are a good fit for the job. The less work that a hiring manager has to do in your interview, the more likely they will remember you fondly when decision time comes.
3. Myth: Your impressive resume will win you the job.
A great resume is a terrific tool for getting your foot in the door and securing you interview opportunities, but it will rarely be enough to win you the job. To do that, you have to truly sell yourself, making your skills come alive in a way that is relevant to the job, and making a real connection with your interviewers right away. Qualifications are a great asset to have, but they aren’t nearly as important to employers as the way you answer interview questions and the chemistry you forge with the company.
4. Fact: Doing your research and knowing about the company is key.
Never go into an interview without knowing everything you can about the company and the job at hand. Interviewers will be more impressed with you if you can tailor your answers to the specific responsibilities of the job you are applying for. Similarly, a knowledge of what the company does and what its history has been will posit you as someone who really cares about getting this job.
5. Myth: There is a right answer to every question.
Too many job hunters make the mistake of trying to answer questions with what the interviewer “wants to hear.” However, the truth is that there is never one correct answer to an interview question. Instead, these queries are designed to learn more about you, your experience, and what you would bring to the job. Trying to tailor your answers to appease someone you don’t know has a greater chance of backfiring than anything else, so just be yourself and be honest with your answers.
6. Fact: There are wrong answers to many questions.
While there are no right answers to interview questions, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t wrong ones. A great example is the question that asks you to explain why you left your old job, or to talk about a disagreement you had with a boss or colleague. A wrong answer to either would involve putting down your previous employers or the people you used to work with. You might love telling your family and friends about how inept your boss is, but it’s a subject that should remain off limits in an interview. Otherwise, you’ll have your prospective employer thinking about what you might say behind their back if you are hired.
7. Myth: You should keep your interview answers short.
It’s a popular misconception that hiring managers want to hear short and concise answers to their interview questions. Remember that an interview is your chance to make a case for why you are the right person for a job, and if you have to talk at length to make those points, do so. This might involve showing off all the knowledge you have about the company at hand, or telling anecdotes that display your work ethic. Always be making a point with what you are saying, and never ramble off topic, but don’t keep your answers to two or three sentences either.
8. Fact: Cleaning up your Facebook before an interview is a good idea.
In the modern age, it’s becoming more and more common for employers to look up their applicants on Facebook. Not every interviewer will pull up your social media feed, but you never know who is going to try, so either ramp up your privacy settings or clean up your profiles so that all inappropriate photos, offensive comments, and other eyebrow-raising content are nowhere to be seen. It only takes a few minutes, and it could completely change the course of your job prospects.
About the author:
Michael Klazema has been developing products for pre-employment screening and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009. He is the lead author and editor for Backgroundchecks.com. He lives in Dallas, TX with his family and enjoys the rich culinary histories of various old and new world countries.