Aim to impress in job interviews, but you can still be yourself

Jul 29 2012 - 10:53pm

It has long been understood that dressing the part is critically important going into any job interview. We know employers discern within the first few minutes whether you are a strong candidate for the job. How you dress plays a significant role in that discernment.

Along with the need to dress the part is the need to play the part in the interview. It is critically important to heavily research the employer and do all you can to demonstrate that you know the company and that you have skills it is looking for.

Inherent in the need to play the part is the equally important need to be yourself. That simply means not trying to impress the person who is interviewing you or trying to be what you think the employer wants you to be, unless, of course, you are that person.

We have talked before about the only two reasons anyone truly gets hired: the employer believes you can do the job and the employer likes you. Because we spend more awake time with our co-workers, subordinates and bosses than we do our family members, liking someone will always factor into hiring decisions.

An employer's human resources staff may have developed five or 10 or even 20 things that should be considered when making hiring decisions, but the individuals making those decisions typically boil it all down to whether they believe you can do the job (have the right skills) and whether they like you (you will fit in, have a good attitude, will get along with others).

How sad would it be if you got a job based on a canned performance in the interview and then could not sustain that same personality on the job over time? Chemistry in the interview will either play in your favor or it will play against you -- interviewers will either like your personality, your values and your character, or they will not.

The same is true for you as you go into a job interview. Ask yourself: Can I do this job, and do I like the people I will be working with?

Many will go into an interview feeling rather desperate and thinking they can adapt to any job and work with anybody as long as they can start getting a paycheck. That desperation can lead to bad employment situations and even failures.

To avoid creating nightmarish situations that will only hurt you in the long run, go into every interview well prepared, but be yourself. The business is hiring more than just your skills -- it is hiring you as a person with your own personality, values and character.

The only way you can ensure it knows who it is hiring is to look the part, play the part and always be yourself in the interview.

Ron Campbell has worked extensively in the job preparation and job search industry. He can be reached at 801-386-1111 or

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