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The Biggest Interview Mistake Top Candidates Make

Fake it till you make it can work to your benefit when you want to shift your attitude and mindset to grow your career.

Acting as if you’re the CEO of your favorite company (or whatever your big goal is) – without being arrogant or stepping on toes – can make you feel more confident, motivating you to take strategic action toward your goal.

However, fake it till you make it does not work when it comes to technical proficiency and tangible work experience.

At Talentfoot, we often see job seekers answering questions based on who they think their prospective employer wants them to be, not who they actually are.

This is one of the biggest interview mistakes even the top candidates make.

By bending the truth, you set yourself up for failure. When you tell a potential employer you’ve hit certain goals or performed tasks that you haven’t, their expectations of you will be incorrect and you might not receive the support or training you need for the role.

Of course, this could cost you the job. Employer dissatisfaction in the first six months is one of the most common reasons new hires don’t work out.

In addition, if you misrepresent yourself on your resume and in your interviews, your new employer may bring you in at a comp level that isn’t in line with your skill-set. Next thing you know you’re being counseled out of the organization.

The candidates we speak to are not dishonest, manipulative people. They distort the truth because they firmly believe they can perform tasks above their current job level, and they think that telling little half-truths (or straight up lies, eeek) will make their potential employers believe that.

So what should they do instead?

Here’s the secret to landing a job that’s a level above your current role: Identify tangible ways your work experience applies to the new job, and share those applicable skills in a strategic way.

For example, if you’re currently a senior employee with fierce organization and communication skills and the job you’re vying for is a manager position, those two skills apply 100%.

  • Speak to a trusted leader you know about how they use organization and communication in their role, and then think of times you’ve used these two skills to go above and beyond. Share your findings with your potential new employer, using specific examples of times you’ve used these two skills.

  • Whenever possible, use specific numbers and factual outcomes to prove your efficacy, even if your role was slightly indirect (but still critical). Know how YOU specifically impacted the success story and what you learned from being part of the big win.

See how that works? This way, you’re being 100% honest while molding your applicable skills to fit the position.

You want to find the right company and position to set yourself up for success in the long term.

How you handle yourself and express your skills and accomplishments throughout the interview process is critical to your success. By managing expectations with your new boss, you open the lines for honest communication and will get the support you need to succeed at your new job.

Now it’s your turn. What skills do you have that could be applied to a position above your current role? Email us at info@talentfoot.com as we look forward to hearing from you.

Have a friend who’s in the midst of their job search? Send them the link to this article! It might be exactly what they need to read today.