Authenticity. The degree to which one is true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character. As in a job interview. On both sides of the table. I was recently invited to speak to 200 recruiting and HR pros at the Minnesota Recruiters Conference on the campus of Best Buy. I talked about how to sell yourself, how to sell the job you are hiring for, and how to sell your company, or your client’s company, in a very short period of time. You can see an edited version of that speech here. Following my presentation, about 10 or 12 people came up to the podium to talk to me. Every one of them wanted to discuss the importance of being authentic in the job interview process, both as an interviewee, and an interviewer.
One woman who is a senior recruiter at a large bank says her colleagues often complain about the lack of authenticity on the part of applicants. She quickly added though, “We are guilty of it sometimes ourselves.”
She detailed a couple of instances recently when her company made what might be referred to by most as bad hires. But she said that’s not really accurate, they were just the wrong people for those particular positions. She also said if both sides had been more authentic in the hiring and interview process, instead of merely saying what they thought the other wanted to hear, this lack of alignment would have been apparent early on.
What’s the point of the charade? We are all going to be found out eventually, so why not be ourselves, warts and all, from the outset? It would sure save a lot of trouble and hassle, and in some cases, dollars even.
A friend of mine who got divorced a year ago decided to try an online dating service this summer. She said the guys she met bore little or no resemblance to their profiles. So their strategy was successful I guess to a point, in that they got the first date. But they were never going to get to the second.
I was meeting a guy for coffee the other day, and the only thing I had to go on was the picture on his LinkedIn page. I realized after waiting for a few minutes beyond our scheduled time, he was that mostly bald guy sitting just a few feet from me. The reason I didn’t recognize him sooner was due to the fact in the LinkedIn photo he had hair.
If you’re not going to be authentic about something as superficial -and easily discoverable – as your hairline, how can I trust you about much more serious things?
I have heard recruiters and hiring managers say one of the biggest obstacles to making a successful hire is when candidates are too guarded in their responses, maybe even in their questions, and don’t reveal themselves. This can make it difficult to assess their suitability for the job.
One of the biggest obstacles to making a successful hire is when candidates are too guarded in their responses, maybe even in their questions, and don’t reveal themselves.
Most of us would probably agree then that a candidate’s ability to articulate the things they value, and specifically, things they value in an employer, as well as what they think and why they think it, gives them an edge in their interviews and sets them apart from other candidates.
Are you applying that same line of reasoning to your side of the able? Are you being open and honest and authentic about the position you are hiring for? About the company, and it’s culture? Or are you kind of not thinking about that part, and hoping things will somehow work out?
Are you applying that same line of reasoning to your side of the able? Are you being open and honest and authentic about the position you are hiring for? About the company, and it’s culture?
During this campaign season that we seem to be perpetually in these days, think of the typical knock against many politicians, or political candidates, in every party. “They flip flop,” “We don’t really know them,” or “They’re not authentic.”
So people value authenticity. You value it in a job candidate. And they will value it in you as a potential employer.
I’l close with a quote from Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, from his book Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time.
“In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit, not an ad campaign. The companies that are lasting are those that are authentic.”