Sometimes a job interview is little more than a formality; you’ll be subjected to perfunctory questions meant to vaguely survey your emotional state and knack for punctuality, but little will be accomplished beyond this. When done correctly, an interview is a learning opportunity shared between employee and employer.  The employer’s gain is the one most often referenced, that is to determine if a candidate’s particular assets will be of use to their firm’s objectives.

But there’s something to be gained for the employee as well. Instead of submitting to a pass or fail mindset when entering an interview, consider appraising it more like a date. Some would-be suitors are resolute failures, but more often than not, you meet perfectly fine people that you simply aren’t compatible with. Jobs offers are no different. It’s a disservice to both yourself and your qualifications to view things any differently. Professional chemistry should matter just as much to you as the employer that’s appraising you.

The execution matters

Even if you’ve established yourself as a competent, eligible applicant to a potential employer, chances are you’re not the only one who has done so. The interview stage is the first and most opportune stage recruiters have to demarcate the quality of the eager herd. The easiest way to help them accomplish this on your end is to accentuate all of the individual things about you. Some of these things might not be relevant to the job strictly speaking.

A lot of advice columns on the subject have a rigid definition of personality, one that suggests the applicant’s use a lot of hand gestures and cracks a joke or two.  If you’re a Type A personality, finger gun it up and pun until you’re blue in the face. If you’re a depressive with anxiety and bony jittery fingers, maybe rethink your approach. Trust me.

Everyone has tried to play a part to impress someone on the first couple of dates. Both parties are all the more miserable for it sooner than later. It’s emotionally taxing to pretend to be someone you’re not, and it’s a colossal waste of time for the person being bamboozled.  The same goes for employment. Maintaining the false persona you presented during your interview just to secure the gig will ensure that you are never satisfied with your work, LiveCareer, reports  “The stress alone is likely to spoil any enjoyment you would otherwise get out of the job. Simply keeping your deceptions straight so that you don’t contradict yourself will be a challenge. Remember the old saying, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, whenever we attempt to deceive.”

Again, if you are a pessimistic sad sack or a nebbish, or you’re generally terse,  or any version of being not commonly associated with endearing, it’s all about conversion. Emulating Will Smith or Don Draper isn’t the only breed of charming and shyness doesn’t have to as a rule mean introversion. There are a myriad of epigrammatic ways to flaunt the unique aspects of your personality. Sometimes an office can use a grim, hard-working cubicle goblin.

The appeal of resoluteness

There’s nothing less attractive in a partner than “I’ll take whatever I can get” energy.  A suitor wants to know that they’re more than just a warm body meant to fulfill a biological obligation. Moreover, evidencing resoluteness implies self-respect. When applying for work, a good way of standing out in a sea of similarity abled applicants is to advertise a sense of resolve; you could have applied to a hundred places, but you chose to apply to this one for a reason; advertise that. If you know what you want from a company, you will be better equipped to inform them why you are able to offer them what they need. A firm’s mission and values are often vital factors when searching for new team members. According to a  Millennial Branding study,  43% of HR professionals believe cultural fit is the most important quality job seekers can have during the hiring process.

No stock answers

There’s a reason why you’ve never heard a non-actor say: “Did it hurt?” at any bar ever. It’s because it’s a stock cliche, cheeseball line that hasn’t worked since Taft was president. Why don’t we apply this standard to job interviews? How does an employer decide between 80 variations of “working too hard” is my biggest weakness”?

Originally published on The Ladders.

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