In an ideal world, all interviewers would be well versed on your qualifications and ready to ask thoughtful, incisive questions. Here’s what to expect and how to navigate a real-world interview.
Dear Annie: I graduated from college last spring and, after taking a few months off to take care of some family business, I’m looking for my first “real” job. I’ve been lucky enough to get several interviews, and they’ve gone pretty well, but I have to say, I’m kind of mystified. While I was still in school, I read a bunch of books about how to prepare for a job interview, and one thing they all said was that interviewers would be well prepared and ask probing, detailed questions.
Instead, I’m finding that, not only do my interviewers so far seem to have few questions beyond “Tell me about yourself,” but they haven’t even read my resume (short as it is, at this point). Am I just running into some weird companies, or is this par for the course? –Ivy League
Dear Ivy: In an ideal world, everyone responsible for deciding who gets hired would indeed be well versed on your qualifications and ready to ask thoughtful, incisive questions. In reality, though, many interviewers are managers who are so pressed for time that they just haven’t gotten around to thinking about you at all until you’re sitting across the desk from them.
And that’s not all. Veteran career coach David Couper, who has worked with both interviewers and candidates at Mattel (MAT), Amgen (AMGN), Amoco, Allied Signal, and many other big companies, has identified 10 areas where job applicants’ expectations are often way out of line with what actually happens.