During the interview process, there can be a fine line between showing your personality and showing a little too much. Sure, you want to show the hiring manager you’re a good cultural fit but you don’t want to appear like you’re catching up with friends at a party. So, where is that line and how do you know where you stand? Here are some guidelines to help you be yourself within professional boundaries.
Consider the Company and Industry
Context is everything. When you research the company, see what type of culture they have. Is it a casual start-up with ping pong tables and dogs in the office? Or is it a large corporate company where everyone wears suits and blazers every day? Based on this, you can determine how much of your personality to reveal. Startups often mean working long hours and possibly weekends to meet the demands of a new business, so the hiring manager will want to ensure you’d fit in with the team during long work weeks. On the other hand, an established corporation may need you to portray a sophisticated demeanor at all times because of frequent client visits.
Be Aware of Body Language
During the interview, the hiring manager will be looking for subtleties that make you stand out. If you approach them with a smile and handshake, you appear confident and professional. On the other hand, if you look down with your arms crossed, you appear disinterested and unapproachable. Mind your body language during interviews: sit tall, speak confidently and avoid nervous habits like biting your nails, tapping your foot, and using excessive filler words.
Avoid Controversial Topics
Regardless of how casual the interview is, don’t bring up controversial topics like religion, political views, or social issues.
Above All, Be Professional
Always act with the utmost professionalism. Be polite, courteous and humble. If you have to consider whether something is professional or not, it’s probably not.
Interviewing is an art that can be learned. If you’re considering changing careers and need guidance in the best responses to interview questions, we’d love to hear from you. Our team at The Wilbanks Consulting Group helps individuals with everything from search strategy and resumes to interview preparation and offer negotiation. Contact us to learn more.