Are Candidates Too Rehearsed During the Job Interview?

Posted by in Career Advice

Luck favors the prepared, but is it possible to be too prepared? When it comes to interviewing for a job, it is. It is important to balance proper preparation with a natural and genuine disposition in order to present yourself as a winning candidate. Presenting yourself as a well-rounded employee is the best way to do this, here’s how:

Interviewers have, in most cases, seen it all: the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is their job to find the best candidate possible not only in terms of qualifications, but also with workplace dynamics and efficiency in mind. An ideal employee would not only possess the necessary skills for the job, but would also blend seamlessly into the existing workforce and increase team morale with their presence. In fact, research conducted by Michael Tews and Kathryn Stafford shows that “in the eyes of an employer, someone who can build a strong rapport with others, encouraging positive mindset and happily and easily collaborate with others might be a greater find then technical expertise,”. That is not to say that a strong personality completely outweighs technical qualification, but it does suggest that a candidate with both of these qualities is ideal. Additionally, while most skills can be taught through training or hands on experience, it is much harder to teach someone how to be personable. This is all the more reason to demonstrate a friendly personality.

Your resume is where you show off your skills and technical abilities. Your interview, however, is the place to show off your personality. Being overly prepared and responding robotically may hinder your chances of landing a job. It is crucial to maintain a formal disposition, yet it is equally important to be personable and friendly. Smile! Be warm! Do not have the character of someone facing trial; show that you are excited at the opportunity, and eager to prove your worth both technically and personally. Showing that you are well-rounded can go a long way in the eyes of a recruiter.

Preparation is never a bad thing. You should always research the position you are applying for, and make sure you are comfortable with all questions of ability or qualification that may arise during an interview. Of course you should brush up on your interview skills. But most importantly be yourself. Odds are the person conducting your interview is already familiar with your resume, and therefore knows that you have the necessary skill set to fill this role. What they do not know is how you go about your work, and the impact that your presence will have in their workplace.  

So, while being properly prepared for a job interview is crucial for success, remember to be personable. Being too well-rehearsed can take away from the human element of the interview, and interviewers can see through an overly-professional façade. Always be prepared, but be genuine too. This is a showcase of you as a potential employee, and a demonstration of how you can be an asset both technically and personally.


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  • Debbie Aguilar
    Debbie Aguilar

    Good one. When I interview someone to join a team that I am leading, I often do the same to access critical thinking skills and ask them to provide an example of a really bad day in their role and what they did to overcome it.

  • Eric L.
    Eric L.

    Couldn’t have said this better. Thank you.
    When I interview candidates, I have a list of generic questions that that I ask. These questions have NOTHING to do with the job description or company. Rather, they are character relevant and enable me to analyze the personality, decision making process, character instincts, and ability to think under unique circumstances. For example, “You are standing in a line at the express checkout counter. The limit posted is ‘9- items or less’ and the person in front of you has a cart filled with more than the limit. You’re in a hurry and need to get to your destination. What do you do?”

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