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March 6, 2024

Bringing Your Authentic Self to the Job Interview


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Your authentic self is your personal brand. After numerous attempts at job interviews without success, David decided to reassess his approach. In the initial three interviews, he meticulously ensured that he ticked every box in the job prerequisites, showcasing his knowledge of complex terminologies. Certificates and reviews of past achievements adorned his presentation, along with generous name-dropping of accolades from bosses and clients.

On paper, David appeared to be the ideal candidate. Yet, each interview ended with the interviewer’s polite half-smile and the ominous promise of ‘we will get back to you.’ A phrase that consistently signalled disappointment. ‘What could I have overlooked?’ he pondered.

While there was nothing inherently wrong with David showcasing his capabilities, what was conspicuously absent in each interview was ‘David, the person.’

David was engrossed in presenting his qualifications, his business ideas and proving his suitability for the job. However, interviewers sought more than experiences and skills; they wanted to glimpse his personality and character. Who is David on the inside?

Unveiling Your Authentic Self

You might be familiar with the renowned quote by basketball coach John Wooden: ‘The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.’ Whether in your personal life or professional life, who you are internally and how you carry yourself publicly are significant. Your thoughts, words, actions, and mannerisms reflect your beliefs, convictions, and values—your character. Your authentic self is unveiled when no one is watching.

Being authentic means living out and carrying our personal values in all facets of our life experiences. In our work lives, we want our values and convictions to be known as our personal brand – what we say matches how we act. 

– Lifeology Recruitment

In this generation governed by social media where our life experiences are frequently displayed for public viewing, are our online and offline personal values symmetrical? Can we break free from the trap of living dichotomously? 

These days, social media does present an avenue for employers to acquaint themselves with their potential candidates for hire. In a twist of circumstances, the lines between work lives and personal life, are often blurred. All the more, the journey of discovering your authentic self is a notable life purpose and pursuit.

READ  Mastering Active Listening in Job Interviews
Embracing authenticity empowers you with the confidence and skills to thrive in every life experience.
Embracing authenticity empowers you with the confidence and skills to thrive in every life experience.

Attitude and Aptitude

An individual’s attitude and aptitude serve as foundational blocks that can shape a company’s growth, sustainability, and success. Attitude encompasses an individual’s overall mindset and approach to various situations, individuals, groups, or life in general. It blends beliefs, feelings, values, and behaviours, influencing responses to different stimuli. Aptitude, on the other hand, refers to a natural ability or talent to acquire and develop skills in a specific area.

Who are you when everyone's watching? 
Who are you when everyone’s watching? 

When these elements align—good work ethic, honesty, integrity, a clear sense of purpose and personal vision, the ability to unlearn and relearn new skills, and adapt to new environments, coupled with experiences and qualifications—they collectively propel individuals toward becoming exemplary employees.

Best Version of Yourself

Authenticity is the journey towards becoming the finest version of oneself. Each individual possesses a distinctive composition of positive beliefs, values, and personalities. When there is congruence between one’s inner essence and external expression, a vibrant tapestry of creative synergy unfolds. This harmony not only accentuates uniqueness but also fosters a genuine and unified identity. Authenticity, then, is the art of aligning the inner and outer self to create a dynamic and truthful reflection of who you are.

But what does this mean for us at work and job interviews? In simple terms, when we ‘know’ ourselves, we ‘show’ ourselves. And when employers become acquainted with our beliefs and values or witness a version of them during the job interview, we become likely to be remembered for our authenticity. The rapport built through our honesty and personality can likely land you a spot on the shortlist!

4 Ways to Cultivate Authenticity

Cultivate Self-Reflection and Mindfulness

Engage in regular self-reflection and mindfulness practices to gain insights into your values, strengths, and areas for growth. Start your day by planning the things you want to achieve and end your day by reflecting on how much you got accomplished. Make a list of your core values with a brief description of what each value means to you. Companies do this to define who they are, why they exist and how they can serve their clients and customers. When we cultivate mindfulness regarding our true selves and acknowledge our boundaries, we align our internal beliefs, actions, and behaviours. Techniques like journaling can bring you into the present moment, fostering a deeper connection with your authentic self.

READ  How You Can Improve Your Hiring Process

Embrace Honesty and Openness

Foster authenticity by being honest in your interactions. Keep an open mind when considering others’ opinions, allowing genuine expression of your perspective. Authenticity is closely tied to truthfulness and expressing your viewpoint sincerely. Honesty builds trust in others. We balk at the idea of sharing too much with people within our circle who tend to be untruthful. Likewise, we should live truthfully. 

Living authentically creates mutually beneficial bonds. When we build reliable bonds at the workplace, work becomes less strenuous to manage when there is understanding and support from teammates. Employers are on the lookout for candidates who demonstrate such characteristics. One way to flex our honesty and openness muscles in our relationships is to hone our attentive listening skills.

To learn more about attentive listening, read our article entitled: Mastering Authentic Listening in Job Interviews.

Being punctual demonstrates your commitment towards others, a key step to authenticity
Being punctual demonstrates your commitment towards others, a key step to authenticity

Demonstrate Commitment

Uphold trust and authenticity by consistently following through with your commitments. Have you overpromised and underdelivered before? Do you mean it when you say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’? Are you budgeting enough time to ensure punctuality for appointments, or do you constantly find yourself entangled in a web of excuses for your delays? Being reliable and genuine in your actions and interactions reinforces your authenticity, building strong connections. This is a vital ingredient in becoming your authentic self. 

Before making any commitment, it will be helpful to understand your priorities and assess if saying ‘Yes’ to an engagement is reasonable for you to do. Feeling drudgery and second thoughts about doing something you weren’t passionate about in the first place, are become bumps into living an authentic life.

Cultivate Self-Love and Compassion

Authenticity flourishes when you develop self-love and extend compassion to others. A strong sense of self-love allows your authentic self to surface, leading to more meaningful and honest interactions.

In this Age of Influence, it is tempting to measure our self-worth and compare ourselves to others’ successes and pursuits in life. But the reality is, we are trodding on our unique journeys. Our choices and circumstances could be vastly different, leading us to stay true to our beliefs and value compass. Learn to appreciate yourself – to be thankful for the strengths you have, and to be mindful about the weaknesses you are working on. This is another key ingredient in becoming your authentic self. 

READ  Essential Interview Questions to Understand your Candidate

How can you show your authentic self during a Job Interview?

Share Your Presence

Be fully present during the interview. When answering questions, maintain strong eye contact and actively listen to the interviewer. This demonstrates your genuine interest and engagement.

Show Your Authentic Self

Avoid trying to guess what the interviewer wants to hear. Instead, share your real personality, skills, values, and passions. Use examples that genuinely reflect your experience, and portray honesty and self-awareness. When sharing anecdotes and real-life experiences, do note the importance of maintaining discretion around other people’s identities. How you handle sensitivities like this also nuances to your interviewer your emotional intelligence in handling other people’s confidentiality. 

Give Authentic Responses

When discussing your strengths and weaknesses, be authentic and confident in your responses. This helps the interviewer get to know you as a person, beyond just your resume. Remember, your interviewer is as human as you and will understand the trials and triumphs of everyday life. Be truthful and use real-life examples to illustrate your points. 

Being present and listening attentively fosters rapport, revealing the person behind the resume
Being present and listening attentively fosters rapport, revealing the person behind the resume

Conclusion: Becoming Your Authentic Self Today

You don’t need to sign up for a Masterclass Programme to learn how to live authentically.  Right this minute, as you are reading this, you have already taken key baby steps in living authentically. It is a life pattern that emerges from our constant habit of aligning our actions to our beliefs whether at home, work or play. When it comes to presenting yourself at a job interview, your authentic self should flow from this daily cultivation of good habits encompassing self-reflection, mindfulness, openness, commitment, honesty, self-love, and compassion. 

If you would like to know more about how to embrace the authentic life, click this link to connect with a life coach to give you that extra edge.