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How to Be Myself at a job interview?
'Be yourself' is advice given on just about every Interview Skills course, book, website, career advice column, etc.
So what exactly does it mean?
Quite simply it's about not putting on an act that you think will impress others.
They'll see through you, if not at the interview, then quite soon thereafter.
If you've put on a 'false' persona in order to get the job, then you ultimately won't be happy either because you'll be waiting to be found out.
Now we know that lots of people, whether deserved or not, wait to be found out. It's a confidence thing.
Find out what? We ask.
That you're not good enough, that you're not up to the job, etc. etc.
And loads of people who wait to be found out really have nothing to worry about.
But if you haven't been yourself then you do have something to worry about!
People need to know that the person they are interviewing is genuine.
This doesn't mean you have to be perfect, or be so articulate as to stun them with your brilliance, or have stacks of creative ideas tucked in your back pocket.
It does mean saying things that demonstrate who you are rather than saying things for effect.
It means personalising what you say, using self-disclosure and telling stories and anecdotes that help the other person 'see' you for who you are.
Being yourself doesn't mean you have to tell them everything about yourself (heaven forefend!) - too much information, too much personal disclosure and you'll probably lose your audience.
Make a plan to Be Yourself
There's nothing wrong with planning how to 'be yourself'.
Before an interview make a list of not just your outstanding qualities and achievements but also what it is about you that your friends and family like - what makes you special.
Ask friends ahead of time why they would hire you - their responses won't solely be about your skills they will be about who you are as a person.
When you then go for your interviews or promotions, you can present yourself 'featuring' some of the things people said about you.
For instance, say one of your friends mentions that you have a smiley, welcoming face.
You then need to make sure you don't put on a serious face because you think that's what you ought to do to make a good impression, but to ensure - when appropriate - that you allow yourself to be smiley and welcoming.
When you are uneasy because you behave the way you think you're supposed to behave, then you will make others uneasy.
When you are yourself you will put others at their ease and can leave your interview knowing you presented your honest face.
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