Everyone, at some point in their lives, reads an “interview tips & advice” article that explains the do’s and don’ts in a job interview. Most pieces state the same crap you’ve heard over the years from almost every teacher, professor, and ambitious student that wants to give advice: research, résumé, follow certain steps, and hope for the best. But everyone is following these same steps so now you won’t stand out as much – and if you don’t stand out, you might not get the job.
S0 what do you do to shine from the sheep? It’s simple; be yourself.
As corny and cliché as it sounds, there’s only one you in this entire world. A you that you’re best at being and NOBODY else can imitate. Sounds easy enough right? Assuming you have the skills, knowledge, and education (I mean that’s why you’re applying for this interview), keep in mind that hundreds, if not thousands, possess similar attributes. The only layer left to add is your personality – which in some ways – is more important than the previously mentioned factors.
Now being yourself doesn’t mean being your complete quirky persona right off the bat in your first interview with your respective interview. Let’s be honest, who’s ever their real self during a first impression? Exactly. Lesson: be yourself but turned down a couple notches.
Now that we got the idea of being yourself to stand out down packed, let’s get to the how to’s of being you! By the way, I added acronyms just incase it helps remember.
Be professionally casual (BPC). Many interviewees appear extremely uptight and sometimes nervous during an interview, which can turned down the interviewer. Show the interviewer that you can be a fun person like you usually are around your friends – to a certain extent. Don’t use slang, but throw in a “cool” or terms along those lines to portray how easy you can be to communicate with even if your résumé exhibits you as a productive robot.
Throw in a joke or two (TJT). You don’t need to be Jim Carrey to get the job, however making someone laugh is never a bad thing. Keep the jokes clean, relevant, and generic. Chances are you don’t know much about your interviewer so aim for an everyday type of funny story that is sure to get a chuckle. Not only will this create a sense of “bond’ between you two, it may also slightly increase trust between you two. Remember, work leads to LONG hours, and nobody wants to work with a 24/7 serious Joe all the time.
Smile, laugh, and slowly ease in (SLS). Depending on your interview, it can last between 30 minutes to an hour, maybe more. And if it’s not going so well, it can seem like an eternity to both you and your interviewer. Therefore, smile and display some sort of engagement as your interviewer speaks and probes you. Laugh at any joke the interviewer may throw at you – yes, even if it’s not funny. Ultimately, ease into your chair and make yourself at home. Let’s be serious, this is going to be your future workplace and it’s time to act like it!
Lastly, discover similar interests and build relationship (SIBR). This one’s Personal Selling 101. To be yourself, you need to find a similar interest between you and the interviewee like between seller and buyer; this time you’re selling yourself. As soon as possible, inquire your interviewer and contrive some recreational interest between you two. Now this is an interview, not a sales pitch (meaning you’re not in control), so do this quickly and efficiently. You’re not making friends just yet. You’re establishing your image and the best way to acquire appeal is to recognize similitude. Once that’s done, you also increase your chances of memory retention compared to the multitude of other interviews the interviewer has had to put up with!
Remember, the interviewer is human and their memory is most likely blurred from how many people they’ve had to speak with. In addition, announcing a hobby public should make it easier to be yourself – not only in the interview but in the workplace as well once you get the job!
That’s about it.
Now don’t be a fool and assume that being yourself is guaranteeing anything. You need the credentials before you need anything else. Your personality will only boost your likelihood of obtaining the job. Get out there and follow those acronyms to success! Best wishes & good luck.