How to: Get Weird (appropriately) in Interviews

Okay, let me preface this post by explaining a little bit about myself. Those close to me will tell you I am extremely candid with everyone I speak with, including family, friends, bosses, and coworkers. And while you may say the same thing about your relationships with people, ask yourself something. Within the first few moments of meeting someone, how much can they tell about your character and personality? Would they call you personable? Funny? Standoffish? Rude? Ambitious? Chances are if it takes them longer than 10 minutes to answer that question, you failed to make any kind of impact on them. Now, you might say, “at least I didn’t make a bad impression!” Yes, technically you didn’t make a bad impression; Because they forgot who you were minutes after talking with you. Now, I am not an expert on how to make a great impression on people, not by a long shot. However, I will say that I am extremely good at making people remember who I am. And when it comes to being interviewed, that’s all that really matters.

If you have been keeping up with my past few posts you’re most likely aware that, due to my recent surge of activity on job boards, I have been interviewed approximately 10 times in the past two weeks. So clearly I’m an expert on the subject (just kidding). However, I found that with every interviewer, I was able to form personal, memorable, bonds because of the candid way I speak. At times, I have certainly embarrassed myself or those around me because of my frank, or blunt, tendencies. However, I believe in embracing this in order to relate to others. And more often than not, this tactic has proved useful, and here’s why. When an interviewer asks me about myself, I start from the beginning; Why I came to LSU, why I plan on moving to California after graduation, the reasons I want to work in public relations, and then walk through my job experience. By revealing more about myself, the interviewer can find things they have in common with me. In other words, I forge a bond with them. In this stage of interviews, the person you’re talking to will most likely be working with you in a close capacity. They want to know they’ll be able to form a personal relationship with you in addition to a professional one; Collaborating with people you have a working friendship with is always more productive and creates a cohesive atmosphere within the office.

When applying for a job, people should realize they are not the only potential candidate. Others will be interviewed, many with resumes similar to yours. And 9 times out of 10 if both resumes are the same, yet your personality is better, you will get the job. This leads me to my next point; staying true to your personality. Because I am extremely straightforward in the way I communicate, I need to be in an office that appreciates this. If I were to hide my frankness in an interview, get hired, begin work, and completely change my personality, two things may happen.

  1. The person who hired you will be extremely confused/concerned about your behavior
  2. Then become annoyed at having hired you under false pretenses

So to drive this point home — don’t ever change. Kidding, but you know what I mean.

Now, I have one last point. Like I said before, when being interviewed, not only is the employer looking at your experience, but your personality as well. So, you may say, “I followed your advice. I stayed true to my personality, but I didn’t get the job.” Don’t fret. For obvious reasons, this happens all the time. And here’s my theory as to why it’s not as bad as it seems. You want to be hired at a company that wants you. Not one that feels as though they were stuck with you. You need to make sure that you fit in and feel comfortable at work. So if they don’t hire you, there’s probably a good reason why. Maybe your experience wasn’t up to par, maybe your personalities wouldn’t mesh, but either way, it could be a blessing in disguise. For every job I don’t get, I believe it’s because there’s something better out there for me. I want my dream job, not something that I can live with until something worthwhile comes along. And whoever hires me will appreciate this attitude. Because when I do (finally) get hired, it will be because I am the perfect fit. And I can guarantee it will be the same way for you.

In other words, “Let’s get weird,” and “Let your freak flag fly.”

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