There’s a certain myth that exists about face-to-face interviews, and that myth can be summed up as follows:
The people conducting the interview are the ones who have the power and the control. The person being interviewed should take a more subdued and passive approach, deferring to the interviewers and allowing them to dictate the course and tone of the proceedings.
Makes sense, right? But why is it a myth?
It’s a myth because that arrangement does NOT always result in the best candidate being hired for the position.
No matter how much you like the prospect of landing this new job, the interviewers also have a need and that need is no less urgent: to fill their open position with the best candidate possible in the shortest amount of time possible.
There are four reasons why those conducting the interview typically do not meet that need, and these are the same four reasons you should be more assertive.
- Their interview process might not be maximized for efficiency and/or effectiveness. Don’t assume that it is. Some companies don’t stay current on the best practices for interviewing and hiring.
- They emphasize experience over competency. Doing this is a prime way to overlook a “diamond in the rough” candidate with tremendous potential. You could be that candidate.
- They may have preconceived notions. Perhaps they’ve subconsciously decided not to hire you before the interview even starts, for whatever reason. It’s your job to change their mind.
- They might be distracted, fatigued, or in a hurry. Hey, they’re human. But that doesn’t mean your interview should suffer for it.
Keep in mind that we’re advocating being more “assertive” during the face-to-face interview, not more “aggressive.” There’s a difference between the two. The former will help you to stand out in a positive way, while the latter will help you to stand out in a negative one.
Don’t buy into the interview myth. Instead, be more assertive and approach the interview as a give-and-take exchange instead of a one-way interrogation. You’ll be surprised by the difference it makes.