In fact, bringing your personality into the job interview may help you get the job that’s BEST for you.
A Tale of Two Job Interviews
Years ago, I had an interview for a job working on a potato chip account. The woman interviewing me boosted that her team thought about chips, 24 hours a day.
“I don’t know about that,” I finally said. “The customer isn’t thinking about chips 24 hours a day. If you are, aren’t you running the risk of being out of touch with the consumer and where chips fit in to their lives?”
Clearly, I didn’t get the job. And I kicked myself for being too honest. I kept thinking that maybe I should have just smiled and nodded and pretended that I, too, would think about chips all day too.
But a week later I had another interview. The interviewer in that one had an entirely different philosophy: “We believe that it’s important that our employees are representative of our customers. We want you to have a full and balanced life, because that will make it easier for you to identify with our customers and help to find them the right solutions.” This time, I could wholeheartedly agree – so I did.
And I got the job.
Being Yourself Helps You Find the Right Position
The truth is that I probably would have hated the first job: The fact that their core beliefs/philosophy/approach was so different from my own meant that even if I put my best foot forward and tried to fit in, I probably wouldn’t have excelled there in the long run.
That doesn’t mean it was a bad job. I once met an executive from Maille who spent almost all of his waking hours thinking about mustard and he loved it – he was genuinely passionate about mustard. It’s just that I personally was a better fit for an organization which valued people who were interested in lots of different things.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you walk into an interview and ‘let it all hang out’. Bringing your personality to the interview doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously or come prepared with professional responses. However, if you pretend to be someone you’re not during the interview, you may end up with a job that suits your ‘pretend’ self, but not your ‘real’ self – which is harder to fake in the long run.
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