People will often tell you to put your best foot forward in an interview, but somehow that has translated over the years to putting someone else’s foot forward.
Feeling the pressure to be impressive sometimes inspires eager job seekers to create a persona that is not real or believable and savvy interviewers can pick up on fraud immediately.
Being your best authentic self will increase your chances of making a great impression and ultimately landing an awesome opportunity.
Over the years, I have conducted pre-interview coaching sessions for my client and I’ve frequently asked this question to help them understand the importance of being authentic.
How would you feel if you accepted a position as a salesperson only to discover on the first day of the job that the company really hired you to be a landscaper?
The deception would be shocking!
Believe it or not, I’ve been across the table from job seekers who have constructed more fantastic stories than that in an effort to get hired.
I challenge you to think about what’s next after you deliver your Oscar worthy interview performance and you are hired as an administrative assistant in a finance office with no experience utilizing spreadsheets.
In the interview, you shared you excelled at Excel with the hope your lack of understanding wouldn’t be exposed Day 1.
That’s a huge employment booby trap!
It’s much better to be honest and talk about all of your complimentary skills and excitement for learning rather than crediting yourself with phantom job skills.
Here are my Top Five Interview Authenticity Tips to help the real you get where you want to be:
1. Celebrate your success!
Recognize that if you made it to the interview phase of a job search process that the hiring team saw value in your application. While reviewing your resumé and application materials, get excited about all that you’ve accomplished. Cheer as you read each bullet point. Think of the hard fought and won battles it took to make those job experiences a reality. You did it! No matter what level the position, you have been a part of something special. Revel in all the great work you’ve done.
2. See your next step.
Once your accomplishment party ends, transition into thinking about how the position for which you are interviewing will add a new layer of value to your career journey. Consider what this job will mean for you. Think beyond the financial gain even if that’s your primary interest in the role. You will want to carry that vision into the interview, so the interviewer understands how their available position fits into your life plan.
3. Focus on what makes you unique.
Understand that you possess an amazing set of gifts, talents and experiences unlike anyone else on the planet. Share those professional stories rather than fictionalizing stories that you think an interviewer wants to hear.
4. Lessen the gap.
As you prepare for an interview, you will know some of the areas where you don’t have much experience based on the job description. Create opportunities to gain knowledge and experience prior to the interview day. It could be taking an online course or watching several video tutorials. You might also speak to people in your network who are experienced in that area. Show the interviewer that even though you might not be an expert right now, you have all the tools and desire to become one in the future.
5. Practice with a friend.
Have someone who knows you well assist with your interview preparation. It should be a person who is positive and honest – an individual who will build you up, but also call you out if you start fabricating. The more comfortable you become with your real-life job stories, the better. And while practice does make perfect, understand that perfection is not an interviewer’s expectation. Your practice time is really about moving into a place of ease when talking about your professional experiences and goals.
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