Acting is not interviewing

Are you so prepared for your interview that your friends and family would’t recognize you? In an effort to be the best candidate for a job it is possible that you try to ‘game’ the process and ‘act’ your way through the interview? Does your personality somehow get lost in the process?

It’s never a good idea to let the job search process change who you are. If you do, the job offer, if it comes will be based on a false set of impressions. More likely, you will not get the offer because a good recruiter will recognize that something is missing.

I recall a series of interviews I conducted with candidates for an international internship program. One of the finalists met all the criteria on the resume. However, during the interview I was never able to connect. The answers to the questions were all good, but I felt I was talking to someone who was trying to get it right – like trying to ace an exam. There was no ‘there, there’.

I wanted to say. “Let’s start over. Go out the door and come back in. But come back in as you.”

Have you ever anticipated a theater performance only to arrive and find a paper insert in your Playbill announcing ‘actor x will be played by y today’? Your immediate reaction of disappointment is the same a recruiter experiences when they are excited about meeting a potential employee and encounter the understudy.

Don’t lose yourself in the quest for work. Take the time to do your research in preparing for an interview. (If you are not a ’suit’ type you should not be interviewing with ’suit’ requiring organizations. If you don’t want to work in a cubicle, why would you send a resume to a cubicle farm?)

Review your resume prior to sitting down with a recruiter. What do you want to communicate that will connect your unique capabilities with the organization’s needs? Outline, don’t script.

Engage in the conversation. Be ready to follow a tangent at the recruiter’s lead. Listen.

Never abdicate ownership of your job search process. Don’t let anyone try to transform you into a character actor to get a part. If you don’t have to memorize your lines, you will leave room for spontaneity and give the prospective employer a chance to get to know you.

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