Be Congruent During Your Job Interview


When you interview for a job make sure what you say about yourself truly matches who you are. It is not hard for an interviewer to tell that you are not the sort of person you claim to be. But candidates continue to make the mistake of trying to portray themselves as someone they are not.

Many candidates do this because they truly believe the claims they are making about themselves. They believe they have great communication skills. They believe they are punctual. They believe they have great leadership ability. They believe they work well with others. They believe they are easy-going. They believe countless other baseless claims about themselves. Yet, if they only asked their friends and family for honest feedback they would discover that those around them see them very differently.

For others it is because they believe it is important to say what they believe the interviewer wants to hear. Indeed, when was the last time anyone heard a candidate say that they are not punctual, are not good communicators, are not organized, or do not work well with others. Unfortunately, though, this is dishonest.

Yet because it is so common for candidates to make these kinds of claims when they are in fact not true, interviewers look for collaborating evidence of these claims. As a result, an interviewer will quickly pick up on inconsistencies between what the candidate says and how the candidate behaves. For examples, does a candidate who claims to have a great deal of confidence in their ability consistently look down throughout the interview, avoiding all eye contact? Does a candidate who claims to have great leadership skills remain passive throughout the interview? Does a candidate who claims to be highly organized drive up in a car that filled with loose papers, articles of clothing, and empty food containers?

Unless you are 100% congruent with the claims you make about yourself the interviewer will likely pick up on the discrepancy. The impression this leaves is one of either immaturity or a lack of truthfulness. Either way the interviewer will not trust you. And if they don’t trust you they will not hire you.

To avoid this ask for feedback from friends and relatives who can honestly tell you the traits and habits you have that are not congruent with your claims about yourself. Do not argue with them or try to convince them that they are wrong. You need this information. And if several people point out particular traits or habits you can be confident you have them.

Use that information to either rectify them if they would not be desirable to an employer. For example if you tend to be someone who is late you can start setting alarms to remind you of upcoming events. If you tend to be disorganized, you can set up organizational patterns so that you clean out your desk or your car once a week for example.

Or you can use the information to make sure that you do not make any claims about yourself that are false. This way the interviewer will not find fault in you doing so.

The point is to make sure you know yourself well enough to correct those things which could be detrimental to your career, and give an honest assessment of who you are and what you bring to the job. Then just go get that job!

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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