Ace the Job Interview Just By Being Yourself

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You have the skills to excel. You’ve researched the company you’re interviewing with and know you’d fit well into the culture there. During the job interview, you give brief, but insightful answers to each question. Yet, you don’t get the job.

The problem is, you’re not showing the real you to potential employers.

When you really need a job or want to work at a specific company, it’s understandable that you don’t want to do or say anything that could hurt your chances. However, holding back your personality is the very thing that makes a stand-out candidate seem just average in the eyes of the interviewer.

Here’s how to nail the job interview by showing potential employers the real you:

Tie job duties to past experiences

Interviewers have heard the same canned responses to questions time and time again. What they really want to know is how you, specifically, will fit into the workplace culture and help the company grow. One way to accomplish this is through storytelling.

Providing relevant examples from past jobs or experiences provides potential employers with valuable insight into how you approach difficult tasks. Show your work ethic by detailing brief stories for each proficiency listed in the job description.

For instance, walk the interviewer through a true scenario where you were able to solve a problem at work. What steps did you take? How did you fix the problem? Did you work alone, or was the solution a result of teamwork? Storytelling allows potential employers to see how you’d operate with them if hired.

Be honest with yourself

Interviews are a two-way street. While potential employers learn more about your background and experience, you have an opportunity to learn more about the company. But don’t get so focused on finding a job that you overlook the fact that you wouldn’t be happy in the role.

Telling yourself you’d be a great fit or would be happy working at a specific company when you know that’s not true is detrimental to not only your future career growth, but also your drive, determination, and happiness as an individual.

That’s why you need to assess what you want out of work before accepting an interview. For example, if you enjoy working alone and resist public interaction as much as possible, sales is not a good career choice for you. On the other hand, if you love to interact with people in person, a remote job wouldn’t satisfy that need.

You also have to take an honest look at your skills and experience. If you have 20 years of experience, you’ll likely become bored and unproductive in an entry-level position. However, if you’re just starting your career, be careful not to talk yourself into a position where you’ll set yourself up for failure.

Make a list of reasons you want the job

As a job seeker, you’re used to selling your skills and experience. However, potential interviewers don’t want to interview a robot who only tells them what they want to hear. Instead, they want to see that you’re passionate about the company and the work you’d be doing. This starts with determining why you really want the job in the first place.

Make a list of various reasons you want the job. This list should go beyond compensation and include things such as cultural fit, company mission and vision, work environment, and more. The list will provide you with talking points to use in the job interview, as well as questions to ask the interviewer.

For instance, if work flexibility is important to you, whether the company offers that benefit should be understood before accepting the job. Or, if the company holds an annual fundraising pledge for a cause close to your heart, this is an opportunity to reveal personal interest to make a deeper connection.

You spend a great deal of your life at work. This time must be rewarding and helpful to reaching your professional goals. Evaluate how your skills and experience make you a good fit, and why you want to work for a particular company. Use storytelling to give interviewers a “total picture” view of yourself. By showing employers who you really are in the job interview, you will grow as both an employee and a person.

What are you doing to show the real you in interviews? Let us know in the comments!

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution that gives job seekers complete control over their job search. It's available for individual users, university and military career services centers, libraries, and corporations seeking to offer outplacement assistance to former employees. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.