Conventional Wisdom – Interviews

The thing about conventional wisdom is – it’s conventional. 


By definition Conventional Wisdom is based on what is traditionally held or generally believed. Tradition and experience are important because they give us a foundation. Conventional wisdom can also be the very thing that keeps us from challenging the status quo and taking the risk that gets us closer to our goal.


Let’s look at the conventional wisdom about interviews. Conventional wisdom says that you should dress conservatively for the job interview. That’s true if you are interviewing in a conservative field. But what about the creative fields? Dressing “business casual” will not get you eliminated as a candidate, but will it make you memorable? 

I once dressed in a pink-striped shirt, grey slacks and iridescent-blue suspenders (with matching tie) for an interview for a producer position. I was offered the job the day after the interview. Was the way I dressed responsible for being offered the job? I hope it had to do with my experience, talent, and perspective. But it was memorable. Some twenty years later, my former boss still talks about my fashion sense. 

During my interview for my current gig I showed examples of my work using my video iPod. I stood up and got close to the interviewer so they could see the small screen – pressing it within inches of their face. Is this scenario covered in any of the conventional job sites about interview techniques? Doubtful.

What made me take the risk? Why did it succeed? 

Research. My research more than anything allowed me to buck conventional wisdom. I researched the organization. I contacted people within the company and had conversations about what challenges they faced. I built trust with the people I contacted. They became connections. They became colleagues.

Conventional wisdom should not be ignored. But it’s only a starting point.

– T.D. Boss

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