EN6 06-01-2016  Author: Philip Wells

The question “Who are you really?” is probably the key unstated question in any interview. Why is it so hard for the candidate to answer?
The question “Who are you really?” is probably the key unstated question in any interview. Why is it so hard for the candidate to answer?
An interview strategy should focus on that identity, by analyzing the consistency of the narrative (career history and events), and ensuring that interview behaviour is coherent with this narrative.

All perfectly obvious; less so is the fact that the answer to the “Who are you really?” question is much harder to formulate for the candidate. Because very few candidates have the distance required to make a complete judgement either of what their true qualities are, or of the identity which they have the freedom to project. This disparity is often the reason for wanting to make the change, and yet many candidates are not fully aware of it.

There are people who actually enjoy interviews. (No, truly.) And this has nothing to do with the attention offered by the situation, but rather with the freedom of it, and I’ve come to consider this as the most underestimated, underused secret weapon in an interview candidate’s armory. All you have to do is accept that candidates who enjoy interviews tend to be very good at them. Lack of perspective is what prevents many

"...a common perceptual bias is the candidate’s preoccupation with their current or recent job functions, when they should really be getting into higher orbit..."

candidates from exploiting an essential feature of an interview: the freedom to be a new version of themselves. And a common perceptual bias is the candidate’s preoccupation with their current or recent job functions, when they should really be getting into higher orbit and expanding the scope of their job campaign.

So for any candidate, the question “Who are you, really?”, is in fact “Who can you be?”. The answer is usually in the things that made you want to change jobs in the first place. It’s a vital asset because getting a clear fix on this identity means you can fully assume it, and project it simply (by being you), which is the only credible way. Do this in all good conscience: the identity you assume is simply the one which brought you there.

 

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