How to avoid coming to an interview with too much information
It’s important to plan and practice before an interview, but sometimes spending too much time thinking about your answers can hurt your performance during the meeting. When you let yourself be flexible, it can be easier to answer questions honestly. If you know how to prepare for an interview in a reasonable way and how to avoid overpreparing, you’ll feel more comfortable during the interview and be able to give honest, good answers that show off your qualifications.
In this article, we’ll talk about what it means to be “over-prepared” for an interview and give you some tips on how to prepare for an interview in a way that will help you do well.
What does it mean to be too ready for an interview?
When you overprepare for an interview, you think carefully about every part of the interview and how you can control each variable to get the result you want. In contrast, the best way to get ready for an interview is to research the job and review your experience so you can talk about it with confidence. You can’t be too ready for an interview because you don’t know what questions the interviewer will ask or how they will react to your answers.
Things people do to get ready for interviews that are too much
In a few common ways, some candidates prepare too much for interviews. The following are:
- Learning about the company is a normal part of preparing for an interview. You should look up the company and the job you’re interviewing for. But it can be too much preparation to try to remember everything about a company so you can talk about it at the interview.
- Some people over-prepare for interviews by writing out scripts for how to answer different interview questions. If the hiring manager asks one of these questions, they have to give that exact speech during the interview.
- Staying up late the night before: If you spend so much time preparing for an interview that you stay up late the night before it and don’t get a full night’s sleep, this can hurt your chances of doing well in the real interview.
- Studying specific interview practices: Learning about a company’s interview process can be helpful, but studying lists of questions for specific positions and trying to get a lot of information about the process can make you nervous about the situation.
- Arriving too early: If you want to be ready for your interview, it’s best to get there 10 or 15 minutes early. If you get there too early, you might have to wait and think too much about what you might say.
How not to prepare too much for an interview
Here are a few things you can do to make sure you are well-prepared for an interview and to avoid problems that can come from being too ready:
1. Take note of you
Focus on yourself instead of the job to do well in an interview without over-preparing. As you prepare for the interview, think about your skills and what you’ve done well in the past. Review the job description briefly to figure out how to tailor your answers and give them some context, but then think about your own work history. If you know a lot about your own career, it’s easy to come up with answers to any question and use your experience in different ways in an interview.
2. Get ready for the day early.
If you plan for your interview early, you won’t be too ready for it. Study and practice a little bit every day so you don’t fill your head with too much information or stress yourself out too much while getting ready. If you don’t wait until the last minute to get ready, you won’t have to stay up late practicing. This gives you time to remember everything you need to do well in the interview, so you can relax before it.
3. Instead of planning what you will do, think about what will happen.
If preparing for an interview makes you feel more comfortable, confident, and in charge, don’t worry so much about what you’re going to say but rather how you’re going to say it. You can plan things like what to wear, when to get there, and what to bring with you to the interview. Even if you don’t overprepare or memorize answers to questions you might be asked, getting ready for an interview can help you feel confident and calm.
4. Find out what kinds of questions are asked.
When you study interview questions, instead of practicing answers to specific questions, you should focus on getting ready for general types of questions. You can get ready for your interview by looking up common types of questions for your role and then looking for themes that come up in several questions. This gives you time to think about your answers and lets you change your mind if you want to.
For example, if you are applying for a job in technical support, you may find that many of the questions in the interview are about how you solve problems. Then you can think about times when you solved problems at work and how you do that in your role. This gives you a general idea of what to do, but you can change things during the interview if you want to.
5. Learn universal strategies
Learning how to answer interview questions is a good way to prepare for an interview. Learning how to answer interview questions is a good way to get ready because the skills you learn can be used in any situation. When you learn a new method, try it out on one or two sample questions and then move on to another method.
6. Believe in yourself.
Being sure of yourself is one of the best ways to get ready for an interview. If you’re confident in your skills and knowledge, it’s easier to talk about your experience in a natural way and not spend too much time studying before the interview. You can feel more sure of yourself if you tell your friends about your work experience, think about your best skills, and look over your application materials.
7. Write down what you’ve done that was important.
You don’t need a script for an interview if you talk to the hiring manager about a few of your most important successes at work. Make a list of the most important steps in your career that you can use to answer behavioral and situational interview questions. With this method, you can talk about your experience in a way that fits the interviewer’s questions. It also keeps you from memorizing and reciting answers too much. Having a scenario in mind before an interview can help you talk about your qualifications and answer a wide range of questions.