Statistics, forms and process aren’t my zone of genius. I once had a job where there were lots of statistics and reporting. Every time I hired someone new I had to fill out a three page, boring Word form. There were no drop down buttons and it was easy to make an error.
As important as they were to the role, statistics, process and forms weren’t my role. I was successful in my role as a consultant as I brought my strengths in relationship and stakeholder management and the ability to run with many projects at a time.
However, without realising it, I’d decided that extra process and reporting was the norm for my sort of job. When in fact it was the norm for the type of organisation I was working for. I discounted the significance of my strenghts and everything else that I had to offer.
So when the time came to go to a job interview, I didn’t be myself. I paroted off silly things that weren’t me and I kept talking about the importance of process. Even the word process bores me!
My strenghts didn’t come out in the interview and neither did my passion for doing a great job and building strong relationships. I thought that because process hadn’t always been my strong point I needed to really focus on it hard to show how I could be everything to my potential employer. If they wanted a process focused consultant I was it!
They didn’t want a consultant that could be everything or a person overly focused on process. Strong relationships and a focus on building that with their stakeholders was what had made their team successful and they were seeking a consultant that had these skills.
As I wasn’t myself in the interview it wasn’t surprising when the interviewers didn’t think the process driven me was the right person for their team. They wanted someone more focused on the relationship building side (the real me!) Unfortunately, I didn’t let them see that.
It was a good lesson to learn and I never made that mistake at an interview again.
Be yourself, especially in an interview. You have strengths that other people don’t have. You won’t be a fit for every company and not every company will want you to work for them. But you could miss out on making a great first impression if you’re not the real you. People (and companies!) are attracted to the best version which is the real version of ourselves and not the fake one.