Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

The Most Important Piece of Interview Advice You’ll Ever Hear

By Mark Wilkinson | Apr 20, 2016 | Candidate Tips

Cool Yellow Chick wearing Black Sunglasses surrounded by other identical White chicks“Always be yourself.”

I know – what the heck is this wishy-washy, completely counter-intuitive statement all about?

Surely you can’t just “be yourself?” What if your interviewer doesn’t like the “real you?” So what?!

Lying, faking and misrepresenting yourself at interview will only sabotage your own career and happiness.

How? In three main ways…

1. Interviewers will smell a rat.

Have you ever felt negative about someone, for no real, definable reason? Was there just something about them that made you feel uneasy? Or even suspicious?

That would be your gut feelings kicking in and guess what? Interviewers have them too.

You’d be surprised how quickly those little innate warning bells tend to go off when someone starts telling porky-pies, exaggerating or acting unnaturally.

  • Don’t try and struggle to pull off an ultra-confident persona if you’re a naturally shy person – we know that interviews are nerve-racking – we’ve all been there!
  • On the other hand, don’t try to hide your super-confident, buoyant personality, because you’re worried you’ll scare the interviewer off!

Whatever it is you try to hide, if you’re not being yourself – we’ll be able to tell!

2. You genuinely might not be right for the job.

woman with question mark postit on her headMost people will tell little white lies in an interview – it’s unfortunate but understandable, I suppose.

(With so much competition, we have had to learn to big ourselves up a little bit).

But make sure that your fibs don’t go too far!

If you completely exaggerate (or even fabricate) your skillset, knowledge and expertise what on earth are you going to do when you actually get the job?

It’s going to be pretty awkward on your first day when you realise you can’t do some/all of the tasks you’ve been hired to do. (You’d be surprised how often this happens!)

Sometimes, you’re just not right for the job.

And of course, if you’re honest with your interviewers in the first place, revealing areas which need work, they may offer you the job anyway, with plans for further training and support!

3. You genuinely might not be right for the culture.

Along the same lines, you don’t want to end up working in a company where you struggle to fit in…

  • If you’re a shy, introverted person you might get lost in a loud, bustling open-plan office.
  • If you’re a loud, confident, sociable person, you might not enjoy a quiet office and small team.
  • If you’re a worrier, then an ultra-competitive atmosphere might stress you out.

There’s really no point putting on a completely different persona and representing yourself as anything but your real self – you could end up at a company that simply makes you unhappy.

And life’s too short to be unhappy at work – for more information click here!

4. Your real self is better anyway!

The text Love Yourself appearing behind torn brown paper.I (along with most employers) would much prefer to hire a real, genuine person, than a robotic, faker who simply agreed with what I said all the time.

(And would you really want to work for someone who preferred robo-you?)

Having the confidence to show up, be yourself (warts n’ all) is much more impressive.

Be proud of who you are – if you aren’t, how are you going to sell yourself to anyone else?

I know what you’re thinking…

Obviously, there are certain traits that your interviewer doesn’t need to see…

I’m not advising you to show up and act dead lazy, cocky & obnoxious (hopefully that’s not the ‘real you’ anyway!)

Likewise, I’m not saying you should turn up dressed as a clown or pick your nose whilst your interviewer watches.

Just don’t overdo it, underdo it or lie. Be as true to yourself as you can be.

Recruiter Pro Tip

Body language has an incredible impact on an interviewer’s impression of you.

From the way you shuffle, to the way you squint your eyes, you’re constantly giving off little hints about how you’re really feeling – AND whether you’re lying.

I highly recommend you take a glance at the following articles…

…to make sure you’re giving off the right impression!

If you’d like to read more interviewing, job-seeking and general careers advice, click here to subscribe!

Good Luck!

- Mark Wilkinson
Mark Wilkinson

Mark Wilkinson

Mark is one of the founders of Coburg Banks and heads up the permanent recruitment division of the business.  Every day he helps companies with their recruitment projects, sourcing the very best individuals for their vacancies.  He understands recruitment inside-out.

> More blog posts by Mark Wilkinson

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