When I was brainstorming ideas related to this topic, my inclination was to give you a list of job interview lies that surface and offer advice to fix them (a la the typical “list-blog” style).
I started to jot down lies that typically occur and then became exhausted somewhere near number twenty-four or twenty-five. I thought, whoa, this is an entire book! Save it for another day.
I then asked myself, what’s the single biggest lie—that occurs on both sides—and how can I offer help?
The lie itself isn’t necessarily a flat-out lie in which one party blatantly misdirects the other. This particular lie is much worse. It’s a lie you tell yourself whether you are the job candidate or interviewer.
I have enough information to make an informed decision.
For the job candidate, this means you feel you have enough information to determine whether this company is a great place to work. For the job interviewer, this means you feel you can make an informed hiring decision.
I’ve written several articles that help the job candidate overcome his or her (own) lie by extracting information from the job interviewer. You can check the milewalk blog as well as download your free Interview Intervention eBook, which packages a bunch of these concepts all wrapped with a pretty little bow.
Here, I’d like to focus on helping the job candidate overcome the job interviewer’s lie to him or herself, especially when it means doom for the wonderful jobseeker.
Oftentimes, as job interviewers conduct the interviews, they listen to your stories and fill in gaps with their assumptions. They’re obviously incorrect a significant number of times. Sometimes this works in your favor, but mostly not.
Your job is to ensure they get all the accurate information they need to make a sound hiring decision.
As you maneuver through the interview, ask the interviewers whether they got what they needed. Even if they say “Yes,” doesn’t make it so.
To protect yourself from finishing the interview with any doubt in their minds, ask a question toward the end to ensure you have the opportunity to clarify any gaps or misunderstandings.
I assure you these gaps and misunderstandings exist due to the nature of a time-compressed interview between two parties who don’t know each other. Toss in the job interviewer’s lack of training in these activities and you have a pile of gaps.
Ask, “Do you have any reservations about hiring me?”
Some might consider this a negative question. Others might prefer a softer approach with something such as “Is there anything else you’d like to know about me?” or “Is there anything I can clarify?” or “How do you feel I match up for the job?”
While all of these are nice questions, they leave entirely too much room for the interviewer to skirt the issue you ultimately need answered, which is “Why won’t you hire me?”
When inquiring about the specific reservations, you narrow the scope of the information you want and the interviewers use to make their decisions.
You need to be very specific that you want to know their reservations. While it is nice to know where you scored well, generally speaking, companies don’t hire you because of what they think you can’t do rather than what you can do.
This “reservation” question serves as a safety net and allows you to clarify any communication gaps the interviewer might have. Their reservations typically come in one of three forms:
- Misunderstanding something you said
- Complete blind spot from an area they didn’t investigate
- Valid reservation because of something you did or said, skill gap, and so on
If they misunderstood you, you’re now in a position to clarify your original message.
In the event they drew incorrect conclusions because they didn’t have time to investigate key portions of your work experience, you can now highlight the experience you have in that area.
The second issue is quite common. Interviewers simply assume you don’t have the experience if they didn’t ask you about it.
Of course, there is always a chance the interviewers has valid reservations. At least at this point, you know them and can determine how to address them.
I often recommend ending on a high note by confirming how you would eliminate actual reservations. The most important part of this closing technique is ensuring the interviewers leave with no doubt you are the right person for the job.
As always, I’d love to hear from you: What are your job interview lies?
You can find these and many more communication concepts in Interview Intervention: Communication That Gets You Hired. Yes. It’s still free. Just click.
In other exciting news, The Hiring Prophecies: Psychology behind Recruiting Successful Employees is now for sale!