How to Be Yourself During Interviews
What does it mean to be yourself? Why is it important in life, in any given situation, or at an interview? If we could go back in time, and see what was happening on a sunny Sunday morning when we were five, we would most likely see a precious child being totally himself or herself, enjoying life as it comes, accepting it with interest and joy. Regretfully, as we grow older, we forget this way of being, and start getting lost in the world of fear and anxiety, which has nothing to do with our true inner selves. “Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” —Alan Watts.
The real you is the person you are when nobody is watching, it is the only version of you that feels completely natural, without the masks and pretentiousness. But this person may change as you come across with other people, stressful situations, or groups with different interests. In these moments you may become conscious of what others are thinking about you, feeling tempted to make a pose to impress or to fit in. What is really happening here is that you are focused on the search for approval, rather than being conscious of what you are doing and what is happening around you. “I am not the center of your attention; you are the center of mine.” —says Caroline MacHugh, founder of IDology, speaker of the TED talk The Art of Being Yourself, coach, and author of Never Not a Lovely Moon.
A challenging, nerve-wracking situation like a job interview, would usually be enough to inspire you to take on a totally different identity, the one you think would help you get the job. But be aware that this is a tricky road. One way or the other the truth finds its way, and the results may not be what you were expecting. When you are present, fully alert about the world around you, however, you release the aim to please or manipulate others, because you do not worry about what they may or may not think about you anymore. You are able then to face situations in the most natural and effective way of all: Just by being you.
So, when the day of your interview arrives—and for sure you will be feeling nervous—get well dressed, be on time, and take a deep breath. Remind yourself that a job interview is just an honest conversation where both your interviewer and you will be looking for a mutual fit. Then, put in practice some of these tips that may help youlet your true personality shine through:
• Become aware of the quality of your thoughts, let go of anxious and negative ideas that serve no purpose.
• Be open with the small talk and friendly conversations before and after the interview, they are good opportunities to connect.
• Avoid labels and judgements, and just appreciate the talking you are having.
• Focus all your attention in your interviewer and carefully listen, what you say is as important as what he or she has to say.
• Be honest, your authenticity will help you find the place that matches your values and goals.
• Prepare yourself on how to answer specific questions, but be flexible to follow the natural flow of the conversation.
• Answer with personal anecdotes, they can reveal a lot about who you are and what you are passionate about.
• Enjoy the moment, have fun communicating with the person sitting in front of you.
• Follow your intuition, be patient, trust yourself.
• Be spontaneous and kind, let your inner child drive you in the best possible direction.
Being present, letting go of judgements, following our intuition, and carefully listening will help us find the way through in any life situation. Connecting with our true nature in acceptance and peace will provide us with trust, and that will inevitably dock us to the right shore at the right moment. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ―Oscar Wilde.
Written by Paula Arellano Geoffroy for Together Abroad