In interviews, one of the most important things you're judged on is your honesty. Interviewers can smell a lie (and a liar) from several cubicles away. And so, perhaps above all else in interviews, you need to remember never to lie; don't even tell little white lies.
Another important thing to remember is that in any interaction among humans, a little vulnerability goes a long way. Which is to say, no one likes a know-it-all, and no one likes someone who doesn't seem to be fallible or to have some sort of weakness.
Which is where not knowing and humility come in. In an interview, if you come across as someone who can do no wrong, has never failed, knows the answer to every question, has the perfect response for every question, then that might signal to your interviewer that you're perhaps not putting your true self forward. You might look a little too perfect. Maybe you're even lying about something.
This does not mean, of course, that you should try to throw an interview question, purposely saying you don't know when you do. What this does mean, though, is that you shouldn't be afraid of not knowing the answer to an interview question, and that you should try to slip into your conversation that you're not perfect, that you know you're not perfect, and that you know you don't always have the solution to every problem.
But at the same time, you also want to get across that you're committed to finding solutions to problems, and to do so you enlist others' help.
These days, interviews are highly focused on determining if you have team skills. Hiring managers need good team players on their team and so need to hire them. What good team players do is pull their own weight, as well as know when and how to enlist the help of their teammates and to inspire their teammates.
So, when it comes to the teamwork aspect of your interview, it can very much help your cause if you speak about how you're very comfortable working on teams and leading teams, and that one of the most exciting and enjoyable part of leading teams is working with your teammates to find a solution that you know you wouldn't be able to find on your own. You could even go as far to say something like: Of course, there are subjects and areas that others know much more about than I do, and that's part of the reason I enjoy working with other people, so I can learn from them and get inspiration from them.
The fact is interviewers don't expect you to find solutions all by yourself. They already employ many people (perhaps hundreds or thousands) who are solving problems together as you speak (in your interview). But what they do expect, if you want to work for them, is that you're someone who can contribute to the team, who has confidence as well as humility, and who'll be willing to admit when they don't know something, or even when they're wrong.
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You’ve practiced your answers, prepared questions you want to ask, and feel confident about going into your interview with a sense of direction. The only thing that’s got your nerves a little off balance is anticipating the small talk pre-interview—which interviewers often use to gauge your personality and get a sense of who you are, unrehearsed.
Whether you’re a student, a recent graduate who just entered the workforce, or a grizzled, forty-plus hour a week veteran, you’ve undoubtedly encountered a few of the more unsavory personality traits that colleagues and coworkers sometimes have to offer. Let’s take a closer look at some of these traits, along with some tips for dealing with them.