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Understanding Job Interview Myths: Not All Recruiters Are The Same, Neither Are The Interview Questions
by Deborah Hildebrand

Job seekers who have gone on an interview for a job they really want know how nerve wracking it can be. However, preparing in advance can make the process go a bit easier.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of “experts” out there who have tried to convince candidates that there is some kind of formula for doing the perfect job interview; ways to prepare, standard responses to memorize, or best answers to the questions that “all” recruiters ask.

The fact of the matter is that all recruiters are not alike. Yes, there are proper behaviors and styles of dress that are more appropriate for interviews. However, if candidates are lulled into believing that they can prepare a list of responses to typical interview questions and ace a job interview, then here are four myths about recruiters that they need to know.

Myth #1: Recruiters all ask the same exact questions

Maybe at the beginning, a novice might use traditional questions like, “What are your biggest weaknesses?” However, a seasoned pro has long ago abandoned these simple mundane inquiries for questions that elicit more insight into a candidate’s thought process like, “If given the opportunity, what would you like to improve on in yourself, why, and how would you do it?”

What is important is for candidates to be themselves, to have a clear, solid understanding of their own background and experience and then to be able to communicate this information clearly and concisely.

Myth #2: Recruiters all look for the same type of candidates

Like anyone anywhere, recruiters are different. They have their own preferences about each candidate they interview. A lot of this has to do with their particular company culture. A truly good recruiter will understand his company value system and seek out candidates that fit well in that specific environment.

Candidates should make it their goal to seek out organizations that are a good fit for their own personal values and style. A small, yet growing, entrepreneurial technology company is vastly different than the banking or insurance industry which is vastly different from working in a non-profit.

Myth #3: Recruiters try to “trick” candidates into revealing themselves, especially when it comes to salary considerations

There are probably recruiters who fit this description; however, a true professional should have only one goal in mind: determining if a candidate is the right fit for the position and the organization. This means matching the candidate’s knowledge base, skill sets, work experience, education and training to the requirements of the job. There is no benefit in having someone "flub" the interview.

When it comes to salary considerations, yes people want to earn as much as they possibly can. However, most candidates are fully aware of what they were earning and what they are seeking. Be willing to have an open discussion and the recruiter is likely to do the same. Otherwise the interview will probably stall.

Myth #4: Talking to a recruiter is a waste of time; talk to the hiring manager

Some candidates believe that a recruiter knows nothing about the candidate’s area of specialty or their particular skill sets. This can often be true, especially as it relates to technology. However, keep in mind that some of the best recruiter’s have come from a technological background.

In actuality the recruiter’s primary goal is not to determine the candidate’s technical acumen, it is to determine a candidate’s “soft” skills. Soft skills include things like interpersonal, communication, collaboration, problem-solving and project management skills. If a candidate has these basic skills, a second interview with the hiring manager can determine the rest.

Understanding the purpose of the initial interview is important to understanding what goes on in the mind of the recruiter. That doesn't mean job seekers shouldn't be prepared to deal with some of the more "traditional" interivew questions, it just means they need to keep an open mind.

Published: Sep 18,2008 15:52
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