Authenticity is important. Authenticity in interviews is very important. What is authenticity? How can we be authentic in interviews? It is actually quite easy to define.
We define interview authenticity as you being you in the interview.
You are who you are. You have hair of a certain color; you are so many inches tall; you weigh so many pounds, you talk the way you talk, and your attitudes and experience are what they are. That is the authentic you. Authenticity is not something you can conjure up for specific occurrences such as an interview. Too often, we have seen the situation where a person studies all he or she can about the company with which they are about to interview. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not; you ought to learn as much as possible about your prospective employer before you interview. But you should not try to be someone you are not and never have been.
Being authentic during the interview simply means that you act like yourself.
You don’t create some new version of yourself because you think that might work better for you during the interview. You might be able to fool the interviewer once in a great while, but even then what have you gained? The company thinks they have hired a person who doesn’t really exist. You cannot be someone other than who you really are. Actors and actresses play roles but that is only for the time they are onstage or in front of the camera. You cannot play a role as an employee for 40 or more hours a week and for 50 weeks out of the year with two weeks of vacation to be your real self.
It is important that you be your real self during interviews. That is how you achieve authenticity in the interview. If the employer isn’t willing to hire the real you, then you are spared having to act the part of someone different for the rest of your career with that employer. You know that would be impossible, but it is amazing how many times people who are seeking a new position are tempted to do just that. There can be a lot of pressure to land that new job. Bills are piling up; your spouse is counting on it; you need that ideal position to feel good about yourself.
But, no matter how rough the situation might be, do not fall into the trap of trying to act like a different person because you think that’ll get the offer to come your way. It will almost always do just the opposite. Even if that acting works once in a while, you would be miserable from the first day on.
Be yourself. Walk the way you walk. Talk the way you talk. Tell the truth about your experience and education. Act the way you’d want to be able to act if you were hired. Be the real you; that is authenticity in the interview.
Tom Krist, CEO