Do you struggle with how to “sell” yourself to employers? Do job interviews make you nervous? This is a common struggle those who are looking for a better job. However, I believe that the best interview is the authentic interview. Rather than selling yourself, you need to just be yourself. Confidence and authenticity are key to positioning yourself for the job that you deserve.

First, we have to acknowledge that most interview questions are complete garbage. Truly, they are.

Where do you see yourself in five years?” (Is anyone going to answer that honestly and do they even know??)

Or, how about this one: “If you were an animal, what would you be?” (This is a REAL interview question!)

Most interviewers are not trained in interviewing. They are busy with their jobs and they are taking time from their operations to conduct interviews. Knowing this will help you to understand why you get asked ridiculous questions sometimes.

What is the purpose of the interview anyway? The objective of the interview is very different than that of the resume. The resume measures hard skills and baseline qualifications. Do you have the right degree? Do you have a steady employment history? The interview is for measuring soft skills. They are assessing your personality, emotional intelligence, and cultural fit. They are also assessing your confidence, communication skills, and so on. None of those can even remotely be conveyed on a resume. A resume is ultimately a piece of paper. That’s why a resume is only one small piece of a successful job search.

And here is what the purpose of the interview is NOT. It’s not to “sell” yourself to an employer. I hear this so much as a career coach. You don’t need to sell yourself. You need to be yourself.  Obviously, you want to be professional and exercise common sense, but please ditch this notion that you need to be someone your not in order to get the job. This approach puts too much pressure on you as the job seeker to “impress” the interviewer and say all the right things. You will perform your best if you are relaxed and authentic. And... if you are your true, authentic self, you’ll get a job that is aligned with that true and authentic self. If someone doesn’t want to hire you for who you truly are, do you want to work for them?

Here are the top four things that employers are actually screening for:

  1. Personality. 75% of an interview is about personality, which includes how you are dressed, personal hygiene, eye contact, firm handshake, general confidence, initiating questions, speaking ability/clarity and body language.
  2. Motivation. Why do you want the job? To suit your own needs or those of the company? Are you the kind of employee that just does the minimum or do you really actually care?
  3. Research/Company Knowledge. Are you familiar with the position, the company, and its services/products? Do you fit in with the culture? Employers want to know that you have a genuine interest in their company and aren’t just looking for a job.
  4. Competency. The interviewer wants to hire a competent employee…someone they can trust with a new position and the authority to fix the problem. It costs a company $10,000+ in unproductive costs to hire and bring on a new employee. They want to hire someone that is competent, serious about the job and the company, and looking to stay on board for a while. Another way to word this is emotional intelligence. Intellectual intelligence is overrated. Emotional intelligence is far more useful in life and to employers.

And finally, what questions do you have in mind to ask at the end of the interview? Always ask the employer questions when given the opportunity. Here are some questions to avoid: pay, benefits, work schedule. Sorry, I know these are on your mind but save them for later in the process. Focus your questions on the company culture and the responsibilities of the position.

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