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Keeping it Real: How (and Why) to Be Authentic in Job Interviews

This November we’re sharing with the world why we love our jobs, sharing the stories of our favourite placement experiences – our pharma-recruitment success stories. This week we talk to Seuss Recruitment Team Manager Susan Braakman about authenticity in job interviews: why it’s important, and how to achieve it.

In Susan’s words…

What Does It Mean?

In a world where everyone has opinions on who you should be, it can at times be difficult to be yourself. I truly believe in the power of authenticity. What does it really mean to be authentic? Authenticity means staying true to your own personality, spirit or character in the face of external pressures, perhaps trying to get you to pretend to be someone you are not in order to please someone else. It means staying true to your own ideas, norms and values including in the way that you present yourself, interact with others and pursue your career.

The people closest to you, the ones you can really depend on and vice versa, they love you because of you. With hiring managers it is the same: they choose you because of you. And they know when you’re not being authentic. I’ve had a client tell me they rejected someone because they felt that, “the candidate didn’t answer the way he wanted to answer; he said what he thought we wanted to hear.”

I’ve also had candidates resign from their jobs because they didn’t feel the position was the right fit with their personality and values. Which is why it’s important to be authentic – when you are chosen for the right reasons (and when you choose your manager for the right reasons), because there’s really a fit between you and the team and the company culture, work is a much better place to be.

How To Do It

Authenticity in job interviews means behaving in the interview as closely as possible to how you would behave on the job. Of course that means obeying the rules of a workplace environment. But also don’t “play a part” and act as you think the interviewer wants you to be  – you might be wrong about that, and it’s not an act you could keep up on the job, not to mention how miserable you’d make yourself trying. (This all extends to your online brand on LinkedIn and elsewhere as well.) Of course this takes a lot of self-reflection. Learning about different company cultures in your industry and interviewing with a range of professionals can be an important part of that process.

I had a question from a candidate who really unsure of how to be authentic. I told her: just by asking this question you are being authentic. Part of staying true to yourself is making sure that the interviewer gets to know the real you, also ask smart questions. Really get to know the company – after all, whether this is a match or not is your decision, too! You need to determine if the company culture is one in which you can thrive. Come prepared with questions.

Of course, every interview is a gamble. But it’s one that always pays off: one way or another, you will learn more about who you are and what you want out of your job and life. It might be something completely different than what other people around you think you should want – and if so, all the better.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

To get expert pharma-recruitment advice from Susan Braakman, Seuss Recruitment’s energetic and suportive Team Manager, call her at +31 (0)20 290 0016 or email Watch her Favourite Placement video here:


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