It’s probably the best question you can ask if you want to come across well at an interview. I use it prior to new business pitches and without question, it gets you thinking. You may not like the answer, but it will improve your outlook for the future. To generate a positive outcome – you need to think about yourself and how you come across very hard and honestly. In some respects, you need to know how other people see you in terms of character and ability.
Your CV gets you in front of your new, potential employer but that’s as far it goes. Companies don’t hire a CV – they hire you and it’s not just your ability, it’s your levels of integrity, willingness, and work temperament. Unless you are being hired as a Doctor or Fighter Pilot, where core competence is essential, I’d say over 80% of hires in the marketing world are made on emotion, so it’s worth giving yourself a good look in the mirror.
Your personal presentation is important too but, it will only get you so far. Savvy people will quickly oversee your flash attire – just think of The Apprentice. I’ve helped many people over the years with their career moves and what comes into question, more than anything, is your personality, manners, attitude, punctuality, integrity, and levels of openness and honesty. In over 20 years, I’ve never heard one client say ‘his / her CV was so amazing – we could not help but hire them’. The decision is always based on personality and character.
See yourself as a personal brand, you should be extremely conscious and considered about it too. Don’t leave it to chance. Ask friends (who you trust to be candid) to tell you how you come across and maybe listen to work colleagues and peers too. They may not all be honest with you but the ones that are will make you a better person.
The best tip I can give you is come across as sincere and genuine because people value the fact you are being altruistic. There is zero point in creating a dreamy and artificial picture of yourself because you’ll get found out quickly which never ends well. If you’re asked a difficult question in an interview and don’t know the answer, be upfront about it rather than trying to blag an answer. You wouldn’t have been invited for an interview if you don’t have the right skills – the rest is showing your own, genuine, personality because that is what people want to see. Not an illusion.
Not all interviews will be successful so don’t beat yourself up if they don’t go to plan. Like I say, most hires are based on emotion and sometimes, you just aren’t their cup of tea and vice versa too. It’s life and you just must deal with downs just as much as the ups. There will be a point in your career when you will turn down the chance of employment as well, so these things tend to even themselves out over time. It’s more damaging to believe you can always win and quite simply take each interview on their own merits but, always listen to sincere and helpful feedback because it will help in the future.
I’m not saying you need a complete personality assessment or overhaul, we all get a bit panicky before interviews, but knowing who you truly are and being transparent and thoughtful will win you far more battles in the long run.