Most job seekers are afraid to let their hair down and just be themselves during the all-important, all-serious job interview. Yes, your main goal should be to prove to the interviewer your ability to get the job done. But beyond that, the aim is to get the interviewer to like you! And what’s the best way to do that? Be yourself.
If your natural inclination is to be funny, then be funny (although appropriately so). If you’re a high-energy personality, then be energetic!!! (Well… maybe with just one exclamation point.) The point is to let the interviewer experience who it is you really are.
“But,” you may be asking, “What if I do that and it turns out they don’t like me? Why risk exposing “the real me” at this early stage in the game?”
There are two main reasons to let “the real you” shine through during job interviews, in your cover letter, in the summary of your LinkedIn profile, and so on:
- Only by being true to yourself will you really know if there’s a true match between you and the employer. If they don’t like you (or you, them), the best time to find out is sooner rather than later.
- Time and again, workers report that the key to job satisfaction is being respected in the workplace. What better way to begin a new job than to know that your new boss likes and respects you for who you are—not for what you pretended to be during your interview?
- When you keep the real you buttoned up, soon after starting your new job you’re likely to feel you’ve betrayed yourself, and you may be itching to leave. Taking a job, then moving on just weeks or months later can tarnish your reputation and damage your employability and earning potential for years to come.
While it seems like you should do whatever you have to do in order to get the job offer, that attitude is a short-sighted one that can stall your career.
Gently infusing your job-interview repartee and the other parts of your job-search toolkit with a touch of humor or personality is a risk worth taking!