In times when employers are looking for a “culture fit” as much as a skill set, how you present yourself during an interview is more important than ever. So how can you put your best foot forward in an interview? Be authentic.
This means showing a potential employer your real personality – not pretending to be the person you think they want to see. Let your interviewer see the real you.
What does this mean in practice? Here are 7 tips to help you bring your whole self to your next interview.
Be prepared, not rehearsed
Nothing says inauthentic more than clichéd lines that sound like they’ve been memorised. In fact, avoid rehearsing lines altogether. Instead – prepare. Study the job spec and be ready to talk about how your experience is relevant.
During the interview give your potential employer your full attention. This sounds like a no brainer – but it’s amazing how often candidates start mentally preparing their answer before the interviewer has finished asking the question.
Stay present and engaged – listen fully and don’t be afraid to take a pause to consider your answer before you start talking. In doing so, you’ll be giving a more authentic answer and showing your potential employer that you are interested in what they have to say.
Use real life examples
In interview situations it’s natural to try and sell yourself by talking about your highest achievements. You can show more of your personality in an interview by giving real life examples; challenges you faced and overcame; conflicts that you resolved; times you met deadlines under pressure.
By using real life examples you can demonstrate your experience and offer your interviewer an insight into what it will be like work with you.
In interviews we all have a tendency to avoid mentioning our weaknesses (or areas for development). Sometimes this plays out by trying to turn a weakness into something that sounds positive to an employer. “I’m a perfectionist,” or “I often find myself working around the clock.”
Interviewers can spot this tact a mile off and it’s definitely not authentic. Instead, your best bet is to be honest. Talk about occasions in which you weren’t able to produce your best work and what you did to address the situation.
Interviewers understand that no one is perfect – by being candid about your weaknesses you demonstrate your authenticity and a high level of self-awareness. They will appreciate your honesty.
Don’t try and hide your personal life
While the primary reason for the interview is to assess your professional skills and experience, your interviewer will also want to hear a little bit about your personal life. If you’re asked about your hobbies and interests don’t hold back!
Having said that….
You don’t have bare your soul to be authentic
Being authentic doesn’t mean telling your interviewer every intimate detail about your life. You don’t need to share personal stories from your childhood or wear your heart on your sleeve.
A final warning…
Be aware of your body language
If you’re not being authentic your body language might give you away. Non-verbal clues like posture facial expressions and eye contact will tell your employer if the words coming out of your mouth are genuine or not.
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