As an IT recruiting firm, we hear from candidates about a lot of bad job interview advice. Or worse, sometimes we hear about a candidate putting this advice into action! This feedback revealed the one thing that candidates should never tell an interviewer.
Job seekers should never say, “I’m the most qualified candidate for the job.” This one phrase is not only bad interviewing advice, but it can tank your chances for a great job.
Why is this terrible advice? Isn’t it good to be confident and express interest in the job? The truth is, telling your interviewer that you’re the best candidate for the job doesn’t really accomplish either task well. First, telling your interviewer that you’re the most qualified candidate demonstrates that you make big decisions without much thought or research. Great candidates, especially in the tech space, are looking for a job that is a good fit on both ends. This means that the candidate has all the technical skills and experience listed in a job posting. But it also means that the company and the work can meet the job seeker’s needs. An interview is all about sussing out whether the job is a good fit for both parties— tech professional and employer. Good candidates don’t know if they’re the ‘best candidate for the job’ for many reasons, especially because they don’t know if the job will meet their own needs as an employee!
Another reason you should never tell an interviewer you’re the best candidate for the job is that you can come across as difficult to work with and arrogant. Making yourself seem difficult to work with is usually the kiss of death for your candidacy. These days, communicating and working well with teams is an imperative skill in most IT jobs. Spurred by the fast pace of the internet, companies are pressured to constantly innovate and improve their products or services. They often achieve this constant innovation with group brainstorms and teamwork. To reach new creative heights, employers need their hires to be the kinds of employees who can play well with others and enthusiastically join these group brainstorming efforts and cutting-edge projects. (It’s also just a fact that Scrum and Agile are the trendiest development methods. The day of the heads-down coder who excels in the Waterfall method has passed.)
Making yourself seem arrogant can kill your candidacy for a job for similar reasons. Even if you’re a renowned expert, people probably won’t hire you because nobody wants to work with somebody who is arrogant. Arrogant coworkers aren’t open to collaboration. They’re also tough to train, which can be important when a company has a lot of processes, procedures, and rules built into their structure. Tech employers often need new employees to have a quick, painless onboarding. ‘Hit the ground running’ is a very common phrase in job descriptions for tech roles. Let your interviewer know you’ll be the kind of employee who is open to new processes, open to working with others and that you know you have a lot to learn. Saying ‘I’m the most qualified candidate for this job’ will do exactly the opposite.
So what can you say instead of this candidacy-killing phrase? Focus on concrete ways to illustrate your value to the interviewer.
- Did you reduce your company’s server downtime significantly?
- Did you increase traffic to your company’s website by 25%?
Being able to share things like this will help potential employers see that you are the most qualified candidate.
When employers decide you’re the most qualified candidate for the job, this is much more powerful than you, as the candidate, trying to lead them to this conclusion. So give the interviewer what they need to see that you’re the best candidate for the role. It just might get you an offer!
Samantha Keefe is an Interactive Marketing Manager at AVID Technical Resources. AVID Technical Resources is a leading information technology recruiting company with nine offices around the country.