Job Interview? Focus On Being Yourself
Have you been rejected in a job interview because you didn’t shake hands firmly, sat cross-legged, or didn’t speak confidently? If yes, thank your stars. Any organisation that decides on the basis of these parameters doesn’t deserve you. Too much importance is ascribed to such factors which don’t merit much.
Body language may matter in jobs involving national security and defence. Or in customer-facing roles where appearance can make a difference. How you look, speak and smile may be an assessment factor if you are applying for a cabin crew position in an airline. Or in select client servicing roles. But even here, how firm your grip is during a handshake makes no difference.
What the heck, you are applying for a job. Not auditioning for Rambo.
Why has this hogwash lasted for so many years?
It rakes in the money for those in the grooming industry to hype the importance of these factors. But does the grooming industry wield so much power and influence to have let this bunkum prevail thus far? It is baffling that such nonsense has been allowed to flourish in the 21st century.
Let’s analyse each of these factors one by one.
Smooth Talking Vs Substance
Why should a glib talker score over a skilled or talented candidate who’s reticent or shy? There are many who may not speak with an air of confidence while replying to a question. But that does not take away from how well they can execute on the job. These are superficial factors and it’s preposterous to reject a candidate on such grounds. I know people who speak with unbridled confidence and after they finish it is difficult to make sense of what they said. On many occasions, the few minutes of talk time mean zilch.
Confidence Vs Capability
Speaking with confidence is of no use unless backed up by capability. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The real test of a player is based on field performance, not how well she/he presented herself/himself during a selection interview.
Some of the wisest people I know don’t speak much. Some even sound underconfident. But you
can’t judge them for it.
Sitting cross-legged is a matter of comfort or habit for many. What is the big deal if the interviewee crosses one leg over the other? Why judge someone for this? How is leg position during an interview going to impact the performance or conduct of the candidate on the job?
Why does she/he have to sit up 90 degrees stretching the spine to the maximum erection? And
what’s the issue if it is a few degrees less or more? How does that determine output or ability?
The grooming industry prepares you to answer questions in a certain way. Can’t the interviewer(s) see through these scripted and rehearsed responses that are insincere and do not reflect what the candidate truly feels? When the interviewer queries to find out your weakness, why should you tailor your answer in a manner that the weakness appears positive? Everyone has weaknesses. And so does the interviewee. It does not make you any smaller if you reveal your weakness. On the contrary, it shows how self-aware you are. And that you recognise your failings. What purpose does it serve to give fake answers in an interview and switch back to your true self once selected for the job?
As an interviewer, honesty is a top determinant for me during candidate selection. It’s easy to
see through those who say what they don’t mean. I won’t touch them with a barge pole.
Are You Ready For An Interview?
There are still many organisations and interviewers who look for these traits and postures. And you the reader are welcome to play along if you need the job. But for all those who feel awkward and uncomfortable, here are my two cents:
Be your natural self, don’t portray what you are not, just to land the job. You should be considered for your skills, aptitude, and the value you can add to the position you are applying for. Not how firm your handshake is or how erect your spine is while sitting.
Contrived expressions – spoken or body language – are meaningless. You’ve got to be true to yourself and comfortable in your skin.
Nothing matters more.