When you’re interviewing for a job, everyone has advice for you. But between your friend telling you how to negotiate, articles telling you how to dress, and your mother reminding you to “just be yourself,” it can be difficult to discern what’s worth listening to.
In a recent blog post for Harvard Business Review, Amy Gallo brought common interviewing tips to experts, breaking down which advice is worth listening to and what you should forget you ever heard.
Here are three tips you should always think twice about before following:
Always wear a suit.
Yes, you want to look put-together and professional, but it’s more important to fit in with the vibe of the company than show up dressed to the nines. “Wearing a suit when everyone at the office is dressed more casually sends the message ‘I don’t understand your culture,”’ Gallo explains.
An easy trick: check out a site like Glassdoor to get a feel for the office culture, and dress one or two steps up from that. Dressing appropriately shows your interviewer that you took the time to research and understand the company, which ultimately tells them you care.
Say “I’m a perfectionist” when asked, “What’s your greatest weakness?”
Everyone has heard the classic advice to say something that’s actually a strength when asked what your biggest weakness is, but while this may seem like a sneaky way to make yourself seem more qualified, it actually comes off fake and cliché. “You’re missing an opportunity to demonstrate self-awareness and a willingness to adapt,” Gallo warns.
Rather, explain one of your weaknesses, then say what you’re doing to fix it. “Point out something that you’re genuinely working on,” Gallo suggests. This way, instead of presenting a problem, you’re presenting a solution.
You want to show your interviewer why you’re the best person for the job, not wait for them to figure it out on their own. “It’s your job as the candidate to figure out what the hiring manager is looking for and tell a story that shows you meet those requirements,” Gallo says.
You should never lie or present a false version of yourself, but it’s important to play up your best features and make a memorable first impression. “Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can just be who you are,” says Gallo. “You need to nail those first few seconds by carrying the right props, sitting in the right place, and handling the handshake properly.”
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