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How to ‘Be Yourself’ in an interview

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“Stay calm, just be yourself”!

No doubt you’ve heard this advice before, but how do you make sure “you” really come through in an interview? Let’s face it – interviewing is stressful and the more you want a job, the more stressful the interview seems. Apart from the pressure to appear as informed as possible, you might feel like you have to present your ‘best’ and not always your real self.

Please relax! At this moment, the intention is to encourage you to ease up and not try to be someone else simply because you think that’s what the HR manager is looking for.

Here are 5 tips to calm your nerves and help you be your own self.

1. Stop pretending
First things first; pretending to be someone else in an interview is bound to backfire. Please just stop and use the opportunity to be upfront about your quirks and true self. Let the interviewer know your attitude towards work, life and other commitments. Just listing your qualities can feel superficial. Backing them up with anecdotal evidence provides real insight into who you are and is far more effective at communicating what you’re good at.

2. Mind that body language
Remember your body language speaks just as much as your answers to the questions. Relax! It’s just another human you’re meeting. Be comfortable as you are and take a moment to regroup. After all, preparation is key and will allow you to exude all the confidence! Maintain eye contact at all times and be an active listener – you will be embarrassed if you forget the question!

3. And when they ask ‘Tell me about yourself’?
Yes, we hear this all the time! Always be prepared for this question with a short and intelligent answer. You must feel free to get clarification from the interviewer: Any area you’d prefer to hear about? My education? Experience?

You should also tie your answers into a professional attribute or two. For example: “I work well with others,” or, “My strong organisational skills has resulted in me leading most projects I’m on,” or, “I approach anything I do with gusto and put in 150 percent”.

4. Don’t shy away from your weaknesses
No one is a perfectionist, so the key here is to frankly discuss what you learned from a situation that went awry. The interviewer also may want to hear how you handled any resulting fallout. Tell a story that isn’t a career killer but shows you learned something fundamental. Talk about the lesson you learned from the mistake.

5. Stay Positive
Take a moment and think what your low confidence triggers are when interviewing? Shaking hands, eye contact, etc. Make a quick note and cross out any negative “self-talk” and re-write the statements in an assertive manner – a way that makes you feel confident and good about yourself when you read and say them.

Turn, “I will never get this job” into “I am the best person for this job!”

At the end of it, it’s all about being comfortable in your own skin.

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