When you’ve been in the business of hiring people for a while, you will no doubt have experienced your fair share of strange behaviours displayed by candidates. With the internet as an endless source of advice on any topic, it might seem odd that some people still manage to get it wrong when coming in for an interview.
The thing about the internet, however, is that anyone can post anything, and you no longer need to be officially qualified to share your advice on a certain topic. As a result, not all of the advice out there is particularly helpful.
To help you better understand the next candidate who acts a little strange, we gathered some of the worst interview advice they might have come across online.
Steeple your hands
If your candidate is sitting across from you with their hands uncomfortably positioned to form an upward pointing V-shape at all times, chances are they’ve read somewhere this indicates confidence.
While there is some truth to this, and many confident people might use the gesture, simply positioning your hands to resemble a church steeple isn’t going to miraculously make someone feel confident. If anything, it just gives them another thing to worry about during the interview.
Call the company’s HR department and ask what to wear
Because nothing says “I’m fully capable of leading this team” like asking for outfit advice from the HR department. While it’s fair enough for candidates to enquire about the company culture and dress code if it comes up in conversation during the hiring process, calling with the sole purpose of asking what to wear doesn’t show a whole lot of self-confidence, research skills, or even common sense.
“Dance” with the interviewer
Feel like your candidate won’t sit still? When you move, they move? This might be someone taking the “chameleon effect” to a whole new level. The effect “refers to nonconscious mimicry of the postures, mannerisms, facial expressions, and other behaviors of one’s interaction partners”.
Nonconscious mimicry might be great, but when you advise an already nervous candidate to “dance” with the other person by consciously moving every time they move, that’s just asking for trouble.
Be multiple people all at once
If your candidate seems to display multiple different personalities during the interview, they may have read too many interview tips online. One thing many lists are guilty of is managing to contradict their own advice.
Candidates are told to show confidence and deference simultaneously; not smile too much, but be enthusiastic; don’t talk too much, and don’t be silent; and more.
While telling people not to mumble their answers during interviews is valid advice, instructing them to speak “with modulation in pitch and volume, and a minimum of noticeable pauses” isn’t going to help them come across like a normal person, let alone someone who’s right for the job.
Overall, most interview advice is meant well, and even the above contain some truth. The issue is, however, that they can put too much emphasis on how to act, speak, behave, and look, while forgetting to mention that the best way to ace an interview is to be yourself, and come prepared. If more people did that, interviewers would have an easier time identifying candidates who are truly a good fit.
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