11 HR Experts Dispel Some Common Job Hunting Myths
In today’s highly connected and accessible digital world, there’s a lot of advice floating around about every subject under the sun — including what to do and what not to do when you’re looking for a new job. It can be tricky researching job hunting tips online, where advice can be contradictory, obsolete or given by writers with no real expertise in human resources. Some pointers may even hurt your chances at an interview.
That’s why we asked expert members of Forbes Human Resources Council to dispel a few commonly encountered tips that are actually false or outdated, but that many job hunters still follow today. Read their insights for a better understanding of how to land your dream job.
1. You Don’t Need To Pretend You’re Perfect
The need to be seen as great at everything is a myth. The reality is that when a candidate is honest about what they do and do not know and when they’re vulnerable with their strengths and weaknesses, they come out stronger. Being authentic and real about yourself is the biggest strength you can show. Nobody’s perfect, so don’t try to be. – Brittany Forsyth, Shopify Inc.
2. Behavior And Personality Matter As Much As Skills
The greatest myth in today’s job market is the old-fashioned notion that skills and experience are the most important to prospective employers. More and more, employers are concerned with cultural fit and subsequently focus more on behavior and personality. Skills can be taught and new staff can be trained. So while skills and experience are important, they alone may not set you apart. – Donald Larsen, LGFCU
3. Interviews Are A Dialogue, Not A One-Way Sales Pitch
Many people approach the interview process as an attempt to win the employer over, but this is a bad idea for both parties. Interviewing should be a two-way street to evaluate a potential match, not only for the employer, but also for the candidate. Candidates should be asking questions of the employer to help them determine if the opportunity presented is the right fit for their goals as well. – Heather Doshay, Rainforest QA
4. You Might Find Better Job Opportunities Offline
One myth about the job-hunting process that I would love to dispel is that the best opportunities are found online. Depending on which study you subscribe to, anywhere from 70% to 85% of jobs are filled via networking versus traditional online job applications. Worse still, the majority of jobs are not publicly posted for all job seekers to see, which further supports the value of professional networks. – Dr. Timothy J. Giardino, Cantata Health, LLC
5. A Top School Doesn’t Guarantee A Good Job
It’s a common belief that graduates of top schools get their first choice. However, the prestige of your school is not always a consideration. Hiring managers tend to place greater emphasis on the skills on your resume and the way you present yourself in the interview. In many cases, they will even prioritize your soft skills over your experience. Remember, skills can be taught, character cannot. – Edward Fleischman, The Execu|Search Group
6. Temporary Work Can Be Your Full-Time Career
Many job seekers believe temp work is substandard or something only people who couldn’t get a full-time job do. Wrong! Many workers, across all generations, have turned to temp work to have a better work-life balance, manage where or how often they work, enjoy more flexible and diverse work, and earn more money, among other reasons. In the near future, we’ll have more temp workers than full-time ones. – Genine Wilson, Kelly Services
7. You’re Not Necessarily ‘The Perfect Fit’ Just Because You Fit The Requirements
Hiring isn’t only about checking boxes. Just because someone has the basic skills and experience described in the requisition does not necessarily mean they are the right fit for the role. Intangibles matter. – Jeff Weber, Instructure
8. Job Offers Are Being Made Faster Than Ever
One common misconception is that candidates will wait weeks after an interview to receive a job offer for the right role. In today’s hot market, job offers are commonly made within 24 hours of an interview. With the unemployment rate being so low, if employers fail to place a job offer within 24 hours of the interview, they risk losing a potentially great candidate to another company. – Sarah O’Neill – SHRM-SCP, humano LLC
9. You Can Bring As Much Benefit As A ‘Culture Add’ As A ‘Culture Fit’
Recruiters are increasingly prioritizing candidates who will make a positive cultural contribution to the company. Effective hiring is all about the “culture add,” not the “culture fit.” Rather than worrying about fitting in with a company’s culture, job candidates should focus on conveying how their unique talents, values and interests will contribute to the company’s culture. – Beth Ann Steinberg, Zenefits
10. Don’t Lower Your Salary Range To Sway An Employer
Lowering your salary demands won’t make you a more attractive candidate. There will be times that taking a decreased offer will be the right move, and you’ll know it because your motivations will be different. However, I promote transparent salary conversations so employers can share ranges and candidates can share expectations. Recruiting is about finding a match, not forcing one. – Adam Mellor, ONE Gas, Inc.
11. It’s Rare To Find Someone Who Checks Every Box
We must dispel the myth that candidates should be qualified for everything in the job description. Job descriptions are written for the ideal candidate, but it’s rare to meet someone who meets all the criteria. While some skills are important (technical skills, for example), others are negotiable (four years of experience instead of five). If your qualifications are close, don’t hesitate to apply. – Cameron Bishop, SkillPath