Job candidates prior to an interview are often instructed with so many tips and tricks on how to nail a job interview that they wind themselves up so tight they can barely be themselves. Articles on everything from how to dress, how to shake hands, the body language to use or not to use and how to answer the most common interview questions litter the web weekly.
I recall as a young student driver many failed attempts at parallel parking. I was instructed to follow certain steps when parallel parking and my commitment to following these instructions to a tee threw me off my game. I was so worried about doing everything properly in front of the instructor that I became a big bundle of stress rather than the cool, instinctual driver I should have been.
So similar to my anally retentive driving, the job candidate often fails the interview because they fail to follow their instincts. They fail to be themselves.
“Why is being myself important Ryder? The interview is really about what I know and not who I am right?”
Let me answer that this way. Recent research shows that 88% of employers will hire for cultural fit over skills. In other words for who you are not for what you know.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, holds special interviews for candidates to determine their cultural fit and even fires top performers who don’t inspire the Zappos culture in others.
Karl Heiselman, CEO of Wolff Olins, asks every candidate, “What’s your story?” He asks this question to determine through the candidate’s answer, if the candidate is someone with whom he would like to hang out. If not then they don’t make the cut.
So let me sum up. Your resume gets you in the door but who you are gets you hired. If you worry about every last piece of advice given to you, then you might end up as frazzled as a pimply faced 15 year old student driver and blow the interview.
As a job seeker the argument over the right and wrongs of selecting for cultural fit over skills matter little. I’ve told you how the game is played. Once you get through the door a company’s willingness to hire you is less about you scoring 30 points a game and more about whether you can get along with the guys in the locker room and not embarrass the team in front of the media.
I’m not going to write a blog on “5 Steps On How to be the Person with Whom the Hiring Manager Wants to Hang Out.” Doing so would defeat the purpose of this post. In the interview, be yourself. There is a hiring manager out there for all of us.