Jan 29

Just Be Yourself – The Worse Interview Advice EVER!

Let’s be honest, interviews are a very strange concept and very unlike how you tend to speak normally to friends and family.

You have around sixty minutes to talk about some of your awesome past achievements and to big yourself up at every opportunity. The sun should literally shine out of your backside. Why wouldn’t they give you the job? You are amazing! 🙂

However, unlike your friends, interviewers and assessors are paid to sit there, nod, listen to it all and smile knowingly.

So, be in no doubt that during a selection process you need to sell yourself. What you say and how you say it can determine the next few years of your career (and your pay packet).

And that’s where the advice ‘just’ be yourself doesn’t sit well with me. This advice is constantly chirped out; from people you know well, to contacts on Twitter who don’t know you from Adam – “Just be yourself and they will love you. And if they don’t, it’s their loss.”

If only it was simple as that. To be frank, in my opinion, this advice is bollocks.

My experience over the last 20 years indicates that the vast majority of people will not succeed if they are ‘just’ being themselves.

Now don’t get me wrong – being authentic is absolutely key for success, but on its own this will not be enough for you to pass your interview or assessment centre. Indeed, as part of our all our interview success coaching we regularly talk about how you should #bemorenormal

However, in addition to your authenticity and normality, you will need to prove that you are actually competent and capable of performing in the role. Funny that. At bselected we help you do this by focusing your answers around the 5 key elements of success;

  • Ensuring evidence of your past successes matches the relevant criteria in the competency framework
  • Choosing examples that actually answer the question
  • Ensuring your evidence is at the appropriate level
  • Demonstrating your broader awareness and the impact you will have
  • And including ethics and values

So, ‘just’ being yourself and being the nice guy is NEVER enough. Relying on this is just a cop out.

The only way to maximise your chance of success is to plan to be the best you can be, and that means hours and hours of focused preparation – leaving nothing to chance.

So, next time someone says ‘just’ be yourself at interview, politely nod but ignore them. Then go and plan in the hard work required.