Home > Contemplations > The Single Worst Thing About Any Job Interview: Whims of Human Nature

The Single Worst Thing About Any Job Interview: Whims of Human Nature


job interview

The single worst thing in my opinion is the fact that you getting the job or not may rely on the personal whim of an interviewer and no one can possibly account for that since it’s impossible. I say this as I am currently on a job search of my own and have encountered conflicting advice from numerous sources on a number of different topics related to how you portray yourself while searching for a job and going out to interviews.

Below are 3 things which I have specifically gotten conflicting opinions on and thus are centered around a man’s problems in going out for interviews but they can be read from the female perspective too. (Just ignore the facial hair part and think of the multiple ways a lady can style her hair from ponytails to buns to letting it just fall and the tons more I am sure I am not mentioning due to my lack of experience in this area.)

Suits for men in Korry's Clothiers Toronto store

Attire:

I have heard some say you should always go in a suit – and this is something I personally always do. It was all fine until someone told me my light suit, bright colored tie, and colored shirt  are too flashy and I should be in a dark suit, white shirt, and sober tie while someone else told me that even wearing a suit at all to some industries’ interviews is way too corporate looking and stuffy.

Hairstyle & Facial Hair:

I have heard some people say that a man should shave even if he has a beard – I mean a real beard not just “the scruffy look” – and will likely grow it back once his interview(s) are over. But what if your interviewer has a beard just like yours and it is something you can bond over? Or they just like the look of a guy with a beard because it means the two of you have similar mindsets. You never know!

Attitude: 

Someone once told me I should make myself sound like a bit of a cold jerk in an interview since it apparently implies a great work ethic if you’re a cold person. (I guess because you’re less likely to socialize?) But, what if they just got rid of some person who was a pain to have around the office because while they did all their work super efficiently they completely ruined morale among their co-workers? Will they want to hire someone who seems cold after that experience? Of course, being warm can work in the opposite direction. You can be perceived as being too sociable and too chatty and maybe they’ll be worried you won’t get any work done and will keep others from doing theirs. At the end of the day, this too is on the whim of the person doing the interviewing and a bunch of exterior factors you can’t possibly predict.

job interview panel

My Final Thoughts, Roundup, & Request For What YOU Think:

I don’t blame any interviewer for having their own personal whims and desires to see in the people they are interviewing to hire because it is just human nature. I have just been wanting to get this off my chest because it is a super frustrating reality which – as far as I know – not much can be done about. No matter how prepared you are for the interview and how qualified you are for the job in question it can all end up resting on how you shook the hand of the person who came in to interview you or the type of day they’re having when they sit down to talk to you. It might even be something as silly as them thinking you remind them in some way of an ex which means you don’t get the job and not only will you never know that’s what it was but there was nothing short of surgery you could have done to avoid that pitfall.

What I do believe, however, is that over-thinking this kind of thing will get you nowhere. Because there isn’t a whole lot you can do about most of these, I feel that it is more important to feel comfortable in your own skin when you go into that interview since it will likely cut down on the probable immense amount of nervousness you’re going to be feeling anyway. Having to remember to act a certain way, or not to smile too much, or smile more than you usually do, or wear a suit you think is not what you should be wearing to the interview will not help you keep a clear head and convey comfort with your sense of self. But then again, maybe the interviewer WANTS you to be awkward because it means you’ll be eager to please and they can mold you into their definition of ideal employee. See! You can second guess this kind of thing forever.

One super important thing to remember is that these whims can also work in your favor. Maybe you remind the interviewer of their kid when they were starting out in the job hunt, or maybe your beard conveys a sense of manliness and can-do attitude to the interviewer because that’s just what their father’s beard looked like when they were growing up. Maybe they saw that suit, tie, or shoes you’re wearing in the store, were debating buying it themselves, and that makes the interviewer think that you’re the kind of person they can get along with because you have similar tastes in attire. Who knows!

What do you think about the job interview process and how seems some things are arbitrarily decided on by the interviewer? Do you think there are any cold, hard truths that hold up when interviewing for a position in any industry? Please, let me know in the comments below!

Image Credits:

Top image via employers-lawyer.com

Image of suits via Korry’s Clothiers on Twitter at @SaulKorman/

Third image via limpehft.blogspot.com

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  1. S
    September 23, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Good article! I’m job hunting myself and it’s interesting to see other people’s thoughts on this process. I think you nailed it with your “over-thinking it” statement! Personally, I dress accordingly for the role I’m applying for (i.e. Suit/tie, etc for a sales job), prep a ton for the interview and try to give it my best! You have NO control over the thought process/personal whims/style preferences of the person conducting the interview, so there is no sense stressing yourself out! Best of luck with your search!

    • September 24, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      Thanks for the comment “S”! Good luck in your search too!

  2. September 24, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Appearing too warm will NEVER make someone assume you’re too chatty, it will however make someone think that you’ll be fun to work with. Remember that we spend more time at work than at home so we need to like the people we work with. Seeming cold will make people think that you’ll be an awful desk buddy and sometimes that’s the most important thing.

    Be yourself: you’re an awesome dude.
    Let your qualifications speak to your work ethic.
    And yes in marketing & advertising unless you’re going client side a suit is not necessary.

    • September 24, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      Thanks for the thoughts, compliments, and insight into the marketing & ad world from the inside, Shans!

  3. September 24, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Re: outfit, I would always throw in a pop of colour because that’s who I am, but also tried not to be too flashy. I think all white/black/grey is wrong, but I do think you need to dress a little to the conservative side. If you’re not sure, it’s probably better to err on the side of caution. If you have a coloured tie and they remark on it, maybe it’s not somewhere you want to work anyhow?

    Re: attitude, definitely be yourself. Be personable, be warm… I’ve never had someone tell me to be a jerk or standoffish. Who wants to work with a jerk? If you be yourself, you’ll find the right fit. Don’t try being someone else for a workplace that doesn’t jive with you!

    Good luck – I’m entering Month 2 of a new job and loving it. I remember how tough the job search was, though.

  4. September 30, 2013 at 9:04 am

    The way I see it. You should be yourself, if someone doesn’t like who that is then you wouldn’t want to work for them anyway.
    Yes the type of clothes you wear to an interview is contingent on the industry and work you are looking for. You wouldn’t wear a suit to a construction job interview. However, your attire should reflect who you are too. If you are someone that is outgoing and a bit flashy then wear that tie! You have to be comfortable in your attire for the interview too or you will come off as uncomfortable to the people interviewing.
    As for hair, you shouldn’t look like you don’t care. So your hair style should be neat and trim that includes facial hair. As nice as the scruffy look can look, it also looks like you didn’t have time or didn’t care to shave. But if you have a full well manicured beard that is fine because clearly it is taken care of.
    Good luck on the job hunt.

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