If you want to interview and don’t know how to act, consider this quote from Oscar Wilde:
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Be yourself. If you invent a backstory, fake your experience, exaggerate your skills, you won’t measure up when you show up.
Who needs the indignity of being thought a liar? Be yourself.
Worried that if you are yourself, with limited or no experience, you won’t get a job? Then rethink your concerns and refocus your attention. If you’re someone who is hardworking, honest, and responsible and you have work references who’ll say so, you may not land the job of your dreams, but you will land a job that requires the stability and accountability you can be counted on to deliver.
So, deliver. Prove yourself and you’ll learn and earn opportunities to advance, either in your current company or the next one.
If you’re not interviewing because you don’t know how to answer questions that only you know the answers to, (e.g. “describe yourself” and “why would you like to work for us?” and “why did you leave your last job”), practice honest answers with honest friends who will give you honest feedback. Then practice some more.
My point is…
Employers are looking for “fit.” Despite having specific needs that must be met, the person they hire is more than a composite of skills and abilities. The new hire is a whole person, and that whole person needs to mesh with those already there, who work together in a workplace that’s already in place.
So, be you. If you get the job, you will fit in. If you don’t get the job, you weren’t a fit. Don’t force it. Be okay with it.
Get real about being real. Being your authentic self can be problematic if you don’t shower, wear deodorant, brush your teeth, comb your hair, cut your hair, wear clean clothes, or wear clothes that cover what best stays covered. Your authentic but unwashed self isn’t going to get you a job anywhere.
But that’s not you. You’re very washed, so let’s talk about the unwritten, unspoken, unclear understanding you and your employer agree to when you accept a job. It goes something like this: The company will pay you for as long as they think you deliver and they think they need you. Conversely, you agree to accept that pay for showing up and doing your job. What’s not specified are your explicit expectations and theirs; information that becomes crystal clear to all concerned within days or weeks of beginning your relationship. So, as they say, let the buyer beware. If not satisfied, there are no warrantees or money back guarantees for either party. Should you have questions, and you should have many, ask them before you take the job. Frame them as “tell me more about…”
What’s left? Just this: since you have to be yourself, know who you are, what you want, and why you want it. No one else can do that for you.