Preparing too much for a job interview

Everybody agrees that we should prepare for a job interview. We shouldn’t be shocked by questions like “What’s your five greatest weakness?” or “What’s your salary target?”. Refreshing our memories about frameworks that we haven’t used for years – that can be useful too.

On the other hand, if you need to prepare for a month or so – that looks too much for me. Maybe you’re trying to cover too much. Maybe you want to sell yourself as more expert than you actually are. E.g. learning trick questions and answers in a language you hardly used – it’s cheating.

Don’t practice that much

Don’t do that. I mean, don’t sell yourself above your current knowledge.

Okay, your self-assessment will never be the same as that of your potential employers. But raising the expectations too high can hurt you in many ways.

It’s quite a slim advice, isn’t it? There are plenty of pages out there saying not to lie on the job interview because of reasons like these:

  1. You’ll get caught
  2. You’ll have a terrible job performance
  3. You’ll suffer on your job

OK, practicing for a job interview isn’t lying, but the effect is the same.

Practice more

So what should you do then? Well, practice even more!

If English is your second language and you aren’t comfortable with it, then learn English. There are plenty of ways doing it. Like watching TV shows with original sound, signing up for a class, writing a blog, whatever.

If you aren’t expert with your primary language, then read a basic book on it. E.g. the OCP books are very thorough for java.

If you’re using a framework that you’re not familiar with, then look it up at home. There are tons of books, tutorials and documentation for almost anything. Choose what works best for you and learn it. You can ask experts of that domain what resources they suggests.

Became a professional

What is this much learning about? Well, slowly you become a professional. Just like Uncle Bob suggested in the Clean Coder book. Just like the Pragmatic Programmers suggested in their classic book.

The general idea is that you keep learning in your own pace – and you’ll know a lot. All you’ll need to do for a job interview will be to refresh your memories about the trickiest questions.


About tamasrev

A software developer, specialized in Java, addressing himself as generalist. A proud daddy.
This entry was posted in soft skills and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Preparing too much for a job interview

  1. Peter Verhas says:

    As somebody how performs interviews regularly with candidates: do not prepare for it a month.

    • tamasrev says:

      So, we’re on the same side on this. We might differ on the reasons: why do you discourage candidates to prepare this much?

      I have two reasons:
      1. It takes too much time
      2. This much preparation only helps you to fake things. So you’ll give a difficult time for yourself, and for the employee too.

      What are your reasons?

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