Posted by: careerworks | May 29, 2012

The Danger in Self-assessing Your Interview Skills

I am constantly amazed at the harmful lies people tell themselves about their performance in job interviews.

Few will argue about the importance of having a great resume; after all, it’s the resume that generates job interviews. But nearly all job seekers overestimate their own job interview skills. This reduces the probability of getting the job offer because it is only through an exceptional job interview performance that you’ll get hired.

Recent statistics suggest that it takes 17 job interviews to get a job offer during this recession. 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 top-notch interview skills, you’ll waste 6 to 17 job opportunities before your performance is good enough to get an offer.

Below are six lies 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 looked for a job recently 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, not yourself. During the job interview, you are often speaking with multiple interviewers and responding to 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. While the interviewer and the interviewee are in the same room, each is playing a different role that requires different skills to be successful. When the job applicant has the right 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

Most interviewers are unskilled and only participate in interviews because they have to. They have received no training and consequently ask really dumb questions, which is why you need to learn to carry the load and subtly direct the interview.

6.    The Most Qualified, Get Hired Most of the Time

Ten years as a career coach has taught me one truth about the job market: the most qualified person rarely gets hired. The reason is that “who is the most qualified’ is subjective, and loaded with personal bias. Additionally, a job description is actually a collection of guesses as to what the requirements 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 what I want him or her to do for me.”

To win a great job, you can either continue lying to yourself, go through 17 interviews before you get an offer, or you can invest the energy to learn successful job interviewing techniques and significantly increase your odds of getting a great job sooner.

Whether you work with us or another career coach is irrelevant. What really matters is that you improve your interview skills. Common advice is everywhere on the Internet, but common advice only yields 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 someone to do a mock interview with 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.

While your resume may get you to the interview, it is your job interview skills that will win 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.

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  1. […] The Danger in Self-assessing Your Interview Skills […]


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