When we enter an interview situation, many of us immediately become our “professional” selves. We were taught in order to get a job we must dress modestly, speak eloquently and behave in a confident and courteous manner.
But is it possible to act too professional? What happens when your personality disappears altogether because you’ve become so concerned with behaving the right way and saying the right things?
Many interviewees stiffen up, get nervous and rely on monotonous, impersonal answers to get them through the interview. And while those answers are sometimes enough to get the job, most job hunters really want to stand out of the crowd and hit the interview out of the park.
Getting over the fear factor
Interviews are nerve-racking events which demand perfection and leave little room for error. From the first handshake to the standard “we’ll be in touch,” interviewees are evaluated on every aspect of their presentation.
But job hunters should remember that an interview is a conversation. The employer has already read over your resumé and knows what qualifications you have. The interview is set up so the interviewer can see who you are as a person, how you present yourself and how well you might fit in at their company.
Making a lasting impression
Employers interview many applicants at a time for the same position, so being likable and memorable is beneficial to you being considered for the job.
During an interview, the employer is not only assessing your qualifications and professional assets, they’re also looking at how well you could fit in with the company. Employers know being successful relies on much more than just a basic knowledge of the company and good qualifications.
While those attributes are important, being friendly and having a warm, positive attitude is crucial as well.
It’s okay to laugh!
I’m not saying acting professional and speaking about your qualifications are not important. They definitely are. But it’s also important not to clam up and become an interview robot. What many employers are looking for is a passion for the role, the company and the industry in general.
When you show you have the qualifications as well as a desire to be a part of the company, the employer will look at you in a more positive light. Telling personal stories that showcase leadership, communication or teamwork skills offer insight into who you are as a person as well as how you have executed qualifications for the job in prior experiences.
Go ahead: laugh, joke and tell personal stories but remember you are trying to get a job. By showing a little personality you increase the chances the employer will remember who you are, which is a definite advantage over competing applicants.
So relax! Be creative, have passion and most importantly…be yourself!
Alternate interview tips
Now that you’re aware of the importance of being yourself during an interview, you can check out other resources that offer great tips on perfecting your interview skills.
In order to be a good interviewee, you need to be prepared for all aspects of what makes an excellent interview, which includes not only showing your personality, but also knowing the organization, being prepared and proper etiquette and interview attire.
Here are some great articles and websites to get you started: