In order to make a good choice for your next job, there’s one thing you must do: Be authentic and genuine. That doesn’t mean you should open up so much about yourself that your brains fall out! Savvy, authentic candidates are clear, open and certain about what they bring to the table. They know specifically how they could add value to the firm and why they would fit into the culture there. They’ve taken the time to learn about the employer’s needs and pain points are so they can offer a truthful and compelling statement about how they can make a valuable contribution to their prospective team.
Don’t assume that you’re being genuine (or truthful) requires you to tell your interviewer every detail about yourself. That’s inappropriate in any first meeting, especially in an interview where personality and likeability are as important as your skills. Use good judgment and be discreet when you share personal and professional matters. Employers appreciate candidates who show discretion, as after all, whomever they hire would also need to be discreet on the job with how much they share about personal matters. A good coach can give you feedback on how to answer the question “tell me about yourself?” or “Tell me about a recent failure and how you handled it?” A sincere answer is one that’s honest but also tactful. Make yourself memorable by sharing a brief story that showcases your integrity, energy and your emotional intelligence as hiring managers across industry view these as desirable character traits and predictors for a successful new hire.
Two major do’s for being authentic
1. Be authentic about what you’re really looking for in your search.
Being authentic relates to everything about your search for the right company, the right position and for what you sincerely bring to the table. Search for a company that appeals to you in as many ways as possible. Research as much as you can about your prospective employer and how they treat their employees. Glassdoor puts out an annual survey that has employees rank their employers https://www.glassdoor.com/Award/Best-Places-to-Work-2016-LST_KQ0,24.htm
Ask yourself, do I identify with this company’s mission and its product/service offerings? Try to connect with someone in the firm who knows about the company’s culture and the specific job you’re seeking to gain perspective on whether you would be the right fit for a position there. The questions you ask should help you discern whether you would be suitable for the job and excited about working there. Be intellectually honest with yourself. Is this a job that fits your personality and skill sets? If yes, pursue it with gusto. If not, don’t waste your time or the hiring manager’s time and move on to another opportunity. For instance, if your skills are really in computer sciences but the job offering requires fifty percent of the work to be in financial analysis… don’t try to falsify or exaggerate what you can do for them. In the end, you’ll be happier in a job that utilizes your dominant skill set.
2. Be authentic about what you can bring to the table.
Know what your value is and be able to articulate a compelling, authentic message about what you can do for your prospective employer. Be specific and tailor your narrative to THEIR needs. Emphasize only those skills, interests, abilities and accomplishments that will be most relevant to your hiring manager and above all make sure you’re truthful. You don’t want to get a job that isn’t really a good fit! You want a job that will be appropriate for your abilities and one that will challenge but not overwhelm you. If you know what they’re looking for and you really think you can meet the requirements for the position, go for it! If you’re not sure, don’t try to convince yourself or them that you are right for the spot.
Two main don’ts for authenticity
1. Provide specific examples that showcase your positive character traits; To excel in your interviews you’ll need to practice sharing brief, clear answers about your accomplishments, how you handle criticism and what would make you an ideal candidate for that specific job. Each answer should tie in a positive quality that’s truthful about you and shows you’d fit in the culture there. Examples of positive traits include being empathetic, a creative problem solver, resilient, strong communicator and collaborative.
2. Don’t ever exaggerate your skills, abilities, contacts or experiences. It will raise expectations about you that you will later regret.
3. Don’t highlight your idiosyncrasies that could get someone to raise their eyebrow and wonder about your social intelligence. Don’t open up about flaw you’ve made unless the interviewer asks specifically about an error in your past. Then you should have an honest answer that focuses on what you learned from your mistake, how you fixed it and how you grew from addressing the error.
The most successful job candidates know their strengths and know exactly why they could add value to a particular organization. They're sensitive to the needs of the hiring manager and are clear, precise and truthful in explaining their value. The prospective employer appreciates authenticity in an interviewee as it allows for making a better fit in the hiring process. In the end it’s a win-win for the firm and for the new hire as everyone’s expectations are realistic which leads to a better alliance.