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Why it’s important to be yourself in interviews

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 5 Aug 2020

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Being yourself in an interview is easier said than done for some job seekers. However, trying to impress the interviewer by being someone that you’re not can add a lot more pressure to you and the whole interview experience. Trying to impress someone can be difficult, especially when you’re trying to get a job. You want them to see all your best qualities and abilities, but you should sell yourself and not some character you made up in your head. The interviewer really foes want to learn about you and what you are capable of. We often try and live up to unrealistic expectations when we go into interviews. We want to portray ourselves as the ‘perfect’ employee, but it’s just not possible. It’s important to be yourself for many reasons, you should trust that you are enough in the first place. So why is it so important to relax and just be yourself in an interview?

Help you feel more comfortable

Believe it or not, being yourself in an interview will hopefully make you feel more comfortable. You want the people you work for to like you for you and you need to know if this role and the company are going to be a right fit for you and make you happy in your job. The interviewer also wants to know whether you will be a good fit for their team. The good thing about being yourself is you don’t have to go by a script, you can talk freely and let your personality shine through, helping you to have a more relaxed conversation with the interviewer.

Embrace your best traits

Some people are just too modest. There is a time and a place to talk about yourself and your accomplishments and during an interview is the perfect time to do this. Everyone has something that they can bring to the team, so make sure you know what you can bring! You have talents and you have abilities that the company want, otherwise you wouldn’t be sat in the interview. There is only one you and you might just be the person they are looking for. Plus, you don’t want to boast about a skill that they really want, and you don’t actually have. This will come back and bite you if you are given the role and they want you to use that skill for a task. Don’t lie. Sometimes when you’re focusing on impressing the interviewer, it can be easy to stretch the truth.  

It’s much easier to adapt your answers

You shouldn’t over think interview questions. You can prepare in advance, but you never really know what you’re going to be asked until you’re in that situation. An interviewer may ask the question “How would your past colleagues describe you?” You want to give a good answer, such as “I have a positive attitude and can always try my best to find my way out of a difficult situation.” When answering questions like this, it’s always good to include examples of situations you have been in at work and how you have reacted to them. Use real events you have been through and how you succeeded, it can really show what kind of person and employee you are. Where some of these questions can be prepared in advance, try not to recite it word by word, it defeats the point and the interviewer might be able to see that you are not being sincere.

If you are asked a more personal question that you weren’t expecting, it’s much easier to just be yourself, rather than trying to keep up a façade. Keep calm and go with the natural flow of the conversation.

They can spot if you’re over prepared

Preparing for an interview is great but there is such thing as being over-prepared and this can result in you having too much going on in your head. This can cause unnecessary nerves. If you go into an interview with ALL of your answers mapped out and script-like, then it may result in you reciting them and not going with the flow of the conversation. You don’t want to sound like a machine, try and give yourself some flexibility to add in stories of your experience and just take the conversation as it comes.

You don’t want to feel as if you are restricted to a script, it can make you and the interviewer feel uncomfortable. Feel free to start conversations as you are walking to the interview room, talk to the receptionist who welcomed you when you arrived, add a bit of personality to the interview. It will help you feel better about it and can calm your nerves.

Authenticity matters

There’s no point in faking your way through an interview because if you get the job, you either have to keep up the act or they will see what you’re really like. It’s normal to be nervous at the beginning of an interview, everyone experiences those feelings. But you need to try and be yourself. Let the employer get a feel for who you are and if you would make a good addition to the team. You also need to find out more about what the company is like and what the people in your team are like. Find out if they are people that you could work well with. It’s a two-way street.

Be proud of who you are and what you have accomplished. It may take some time to shake the nerves, but the most memorable and successful interviews will come from being yourself and not the ‘perfect’ employee you scripted.