‘Be you, everyone else is already taken’, the well know quote by Oscar Wilde must be one of the most cliché ways of starting a blog on authenticity. Nevertheless, when it comes down to interviewing for a job, it is the only advice I give to candidates.
Being authentic during a job interview however comes with challenges. It’s about finding the balance between showing the real you and being naïve. It is not the idea that you put yourself on display. It is about being genuine and trustworthy, not about being careless.
So how can you display authenticity without killing your chances of getting a job?
· People hire people so it is ok to divulge some details of your life and personality. It will give an insight in how you perceive yourself and how you communicate things you feel naturally passionate about. However, there is no need to show all your flaws up front as you try to give an (otherwise) honest account of who you are.
· Adjust your behavior to the context. Being authentic does not mean saying whatever comes to mind. Show your natural ability to adapt to the demands of a situation without feeling fake.
· When you tell the truth of who you are, even if you edit it a little, you stand up for who you are and what you want in life, and you create a two-way conversation. You are not only being interviewed to see if you’re the right fit for the company, you’re also examining if they are the right fit for you. And if it isn’t a match, you’re saving everyone time, money, and anguish. After all being stuck in a job or relationship where you can’t be at least a version of your real self is painful and disappointing. And you can't very well expect your job to meet your needs and expectations if haven’t been up front about what it is that you are looking for.
· Tell a story. Stay away from the generic responses such as ‘I am a great team player’. Determine prior to an interview the key attributes that make you a perfect fit. Prepare stories you want to share to give a true sense of yourself to another person and then translate them into what you bring to the table in relation to a job. At the same time, determine what aspects of yourself you want to keep private.
In the end, authenticity is a crucial, defining element in the interview process. The challenge is to decide what to share and when. Assess the situation, look at your options, and decide what level of authenticity is right for you and right for the situation.
Then stand in the power of your choice. It can make the difference between landing a job and landing the right one for you.
I look forward to hearing from you
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