• Jo Wassell

Being authentic in interviews

People always say, ‘just be yourself’. And actually, when interviewing, this really is critical.

It may sound simple, but for some it’s far from it. Many people going into an interview feel that they need to play a role, or put on a performance to be the person they think the interviewer is looking for. But this only creates a false chemistry, and land the candidate in a job which may not be the right fit for them.

Which brings me to my first point – and one which will hopefully give you some confidence in interviews: the interview process is as much for you to decide if you like the company and the role, as it is for them to decide if they like you.

Try and keep that front of mind for a confidence boost and to stay authentic in interviews. And always be sure that when you demonstrate your relevant experience you don’t exaggerate.

We recently wrote an article on 'Our top tips on how to identify the right working environment for you.' We talk about why your job search must go further than just the job description.

Interview prep

Before the interview, ask yourself ‘What is it about this opportunity that really excites me?’.

It could be the company’s mission, the people you will get to work for, the projects or tools you will use. If you have thought about it beforehand, your true authentic self will naturally come through in your response to questions.

Be honest about any areas of development you have. Don’t pretend to be perfect. If you’re asked about your weaknesses, don’t provide the standard “I work too hard” or “I’m too much of a perfectionist”. Instead, think about a work-related scenario that isn’t essential to that role and how you’ve looked to improve on those areas you feel needed it. This is an opportunity to really show your self-awareness, and that you’re able to learn and grow from mistakes. Because we all make them, it’s part and parcel of your professional journey. It’s how you deal with them that’s important. I know from experience that my clients much prefer hiring someone who is able to learn and grow, then someone who ignores or won’t acknowledge their past mistakes.

Finding the balance

Don’t be afraid to show uncertainty about what you want in the future (like that ‘where do you see yourself in five years’ question). It’s ok to follow your nose and just focus on what makes you tick today. It’s ok to say if you don’t know. The important thing is to be honest, and reiterate what your career aspirations are today.

And finally, don’t put yourself down, even if you’re joking. This is your chance to shine.

So it’s really about finding that balance between selling yourself, and being realistic and honest about what you want, how you like to work, your skills and your capabilities. Employers are not looking for that cookie-cutter perfect interview answer; they want to know if you can do the job. If they can see themselves working with you. And if you’re someone who is going to stick around because they genuinely want the job.

When you’re honest and authentic you’ll find that many of those interview nerves fall away, and the interviewers will see your natural enthusiasm and chemistry.

If you need a little help to prep for your next interview, we have lot's of free resources available for you to download here.

Good luck, and if you need a one-to-one chat or some interview advice then as always just give me a shout.