“Honesty is the best policy,” a saying we all heard as children usually in reference to telling the truth about who started a sibling fight or having done our homework. However, honesty is also the best policy when it comes to your job search and while going through the interview process.
I’m not suggesting that you provide every nitty gritty detail about your life and every job you ever had, but there is a balance to strike to best represent yourself to a potential employer while still remaining true and honest about who you are and what you bring to the table.
Below are the do’s and don’ts of being honest and transparent in your job search to not only nail the DREAM job but to land the BEST MATCHED job for you:
- Be honest about your skills – The whole “Fake it ‘til you make it” idea has a time and place, not when looking for a job. Sure it’s ok to pat yourself on the back and be confident in the work you have done, but no amount of faking will help you keep a job. Be real about what you can bring to the table and speak to that. No need to bring up things you can’t do unless asked. If you are asked about a skill you don’t have, be honest and explain how you would approach learning a new skill and your ability to pick up quickly. If there are skills listed in a job description that you don’t have, do a bit of research or take a free tutorial on the specific technical systems listed so when asked you can be honest yet show you are proactive.
- Be transparent about your financial requirements: Of course you want to get the most money you can in your next role; however, you also should be honest about what you want/need as you also want to remain a competitive candidate. On the flip side being honest about your financial requirements also means you should only take a job that makes sense for YOU financially. While it’s common to take a slight hit when changing careers, I don’t recommend taking such a huge hit that it alters your lifestyle – be honest with yourself, can you really do this? What you want to avoid is getting yourself in a situation where you take a salary cut to take a job and then 3 months in you realize it’s not feasible to maintain your lifestyle or at the minimum pay your bills. Be smart about it and be honest with both the employer and yourself. While salary history will no longer be something you need to expose come October, sometimes it helps to show what you need so a potential employer understands where you are coming from and what you’re used to.
- Be honest with yourself: As much as you want to impress a potential employer, you need to be real with yourself if it’s the right company and job for you. Just because a company is named on a top list of places to work or the title of a job sounds sexy, doesn’t mean it’s a fit for everyone. During the interview process, ask the right questions, find out about expectations in the role, really do your homework about what the company culture is like. If you are someone who doesn’t like to be micromanaged, find out what your future manager’s management style is like. This could make or break whether you enjoy going to work every day! Be honest with yourself and take the time to figure out if the company and position are truly a fit for you.
- Divulge personal details: If you had to leave a job for personal reasons, it’s ok to say you left for personal reasons. You definitely don’t need to get into why. While your interviewer may be a compassionate person, it is inappropriate to get into personal details, remain professional. Unless your interviewer asks certain personal questions that you don’t mind answering to build the rapport don’t get into it.
- Go overboard talking about growth potential: The majority of people want to grow their careers in terms of responsibilities and titles, that is natural! What you want to avoid doing is going into an interview for a specific role and focus the conversation on how you will grow out of the role. It’s to be expected that you will grow, but you don’t want to give off the impression that you will be trying to take your interviewer’s job on day 1. You want to come across ambitious yet excited to learn at the entry point you would be coming in at.
- Talk poorly about past employers: You may have had the boss from hell, no need to get into that when interviewing for a job. If you speak poorly about past employers, the company you are interviewing with will think you could potentially do the same when interviewing for the next job. If you had a tough boss or bad situation at work, you can just say that you have dealt with all types of personalities and you are someone who can adapt to multiple environments. Never speak negatively about your past employers!
Being transparent to your potential employer and yourself during the interview process is critical to landing the RIGHT job. You owe it to yourself to be set up for success, the only way to do that is to go through this process in the most honest yet professional way possible.
You got this!