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Why Expertise Alone Won't Get You the Job: Avoiding the 'Halo of Knowledge’ Trap, By: Courtney Crites

Job interviews can be busy experiences, especially when it comes to landing a dream job. Candidates often fall into the ‘halo of knowledge’ trap, assuming that their expertise and competence in their current role will automatically equal success in interviews. However, this assumption can damage the chances of securing a position if you don’t prepare accordingly. 

Let’s consider the concept of the halo of knowledge trap, examine its implications in job interviews, and look at the importance of showing up as your best self during the interview process.

The Halo of Knowledge Trap

I came across an interesting article on LinkedIn where Daniel Rizea, director of engineering at Google, talked about what he calls “the halo of knowledge trap”. This concept refers to the false sense of preparedness that candidates experience when they excel in their current job.

Just because someone performs well in their day-to-day responsibilities does not guarantee success in a job interview. The tasks performed in an interview may be very different, requiring candidates to showcase their problem-solving abilities, adaptability, and theoretical knowledge, which may not align with their regular job requirements. Rizea suggests that if you haven’t been actively interviewing, regardless of seniority or experience, chances are you won’t be good at it.

Implications in Job Interviews

Job interviews are designed to assess a candidate's suitability for a specific role, and they often involve evaluating a wide range of skills beyond what is exercised in someone’s current position. While impressive job performance indicates competency, it’s equally essential for candidates to demonstrate their ability to respond to new challenges and learn new skills. Simply relying on your existing expertise probably won’t effectively showcase the qualities and potential necessary for excelling in the new role.

Preparing For the Interview

To avoid the halo of knowledge trap, candidates should put time and effort into interview preparation. This involves researching the company and role, familiarizing yourself with common interview questions, and developing well-thought-out responses. Candidates should practice answering these questions concisely and articulately. By preparing thoroughly, candidates can confidently navigate different interview scenarios and make sure they are well-equipped to demonstrate their best selves during the interview.

See also: Overcoming Pre-Interview Jitters: Navigating Curveball Interview Questions with Confidence

Showing Up as Your Best Self

While it’s important to carefully prepare for interviews, it’s just as important for candidates to present themselves authentically. A genuine passion and enthusiasm for the role, among other things, can significantly impact an interviewer's perception. Employers are not only looking for technical competence but also for candidates who align with the company culture and demonstrate a true desire to contribute to the organization. By showing genuine enthusiasm for the opportunity, candidates can set themselves apart from the competition.

See also: How to Introduce Yourself During the Job Search

Final Thoughts

The halo of knowledge trap is a common trap that candidates may fall into during the interview process. Recognizing that more than expertise in your current role is required for success in interviews is crucial for overcoming this. Showing up as your best self and emphasizing the importance of adaptability, willingness to learn, and displaying passion for the role can increase the chances of securing a job offer