Interview Preparation – Are You Over-Preparing For Your Interview

Interview Preparation – The job interview is your time to be the very best version of yourself.  This means lots of preparation, studying interview questions and answers, reading up on the company, and getting as much advice as possible.  While there is plenty of good advice out there that can help you along during the process, there is bad advice, too.  As you gain more experience, you can learn how to weed out the good from the bad.

These pieces of advice seem well-meaning and advantageous, but can easily be taken too far.

Do your research on the company before the interview.

This advice is a double-edged sword.  Yes, you should be researching what exactly the position you’re interviewing for is, what the company is looking for, what the company does, and the general goals of the company.  Most of this can be found on the about page of the company’s website and in the job description.  What you don’t want to do is over-research.  Yes, that’s possible.  If you try to read every single detail about the company you will only succeed in overwhelming yourself.  If you’re overwhelmed, you will be stressed, which will show during the interview and hurt your chances at landing the job.

Talk about salary.

There’s advice out there that advocates talking about the salary up front and offering your willingness to negotiate. There are suggestions that you are more likely to get the job if you show you don’t need to be paid as much as other candidates.  This should never be done during the first interview, unless initiated by the interviewer.  Bringing up salary shows unprofessionalism, as well as a cockiness that can turn employers away from you.  The interviewer may not even be considering you for the position yet—why jump the gun in asking about how you will be compensated?

Just relax.

While you don’t want to be completely stressed out during an interview (this will show), you also don’t want to be completely calm and carefree.  If you are too relaxed during an interview, you may come off to the interviewer as aloof or arrogant.  You might give off the impression that you aren’t worried about getting the position, believe you are better than other candidates, too good for the company, etc.  Instead of being completely relaxed, make sure you are putting effort into showing your genuine interest in the company and position.

Dress for the job you want.

This could be helpful if the job you want is the exact one you are applying for, but that’s not always the case.  You should always match your attire to the company and position you are interviewing for.  If you are interviewing for a construction job, you shouldn’t show up in a suit and tie—a nice pair of slacks and a button up shirt will do.  Over-dressing and under-dressing can severely limit your chances of landing the job.  It not only shows that you aren’t professional, but that you also might not fit in well with the company.

Be yourself.

While you should never lie on your resume or during an interview, you also want to present the best version of yourself as possible.  If this is a customer service job, you want to present yourself as outgoing and helpful, even if you are typically an introverted person.  You want to show that you will be able to fit in with the company and with the people that work there.  If you are applying for a leadership position, it helps to be assertive and ask questions during the interview—questions that you’ve thought of and practiced ahead of time.

Get there early.

Yes, you want to get to your interview around 5 to 10 minutes early, but arriving too early can hurt your chances at the job just as much as arriving late.  This could be for a variety of reasons.  For one, it may show that you have nothing else important to do with your time.  While you may not, this isn’t something to let the interviewer know.  It may show that you can’t follow directions very well or forgot the actual time of the interview.  If you get there too early, staff may be annoyed with feeling like they have to entertain you, bring you refreshments, or talk about the company.

Just make up your experience/references/skills.

A lot of people think that if they can just get the job, they will be able to learn the skills necessary to do the job well.  While this may be true, lying or fabricating experience will not get you anywhere.  Most likely, the interviewer will find out about this when they ask you questions that you can’t answer.  Not only will this cost you the position you are applying for, it may also cost you any upcoming position at the company.  If this is a tight-knit industry, these hiring managers may know others at relevant companies.  Before you know it, your name could be on the no-hire list at numerous companies.

Explain why you lost your job or are jobless.

You should always give a very quick explanation that puts your unemployment in a positive light.  However, you should not linger on the subject for too long or over-explain.  Chances are, you will say something that will be off-putting to the interviewer.  You might bring up your grievances with your past boss, which is taboo.  You might talk badly about co-workers, which may lead the interviewer to believe you don’t work well with others.  Keep your answer short and succinct, then guide the interview in another direction.

Source: Michelle Hawley (Ladders)

in Interviewing

Related Articles