Balancing Between Professional and Personal During an Interview

July 18th, 2014

Maintain your professional demeanor.

Don’t let yourself be unprofessional.

Professionalism above all else. 

Every job hunter has been given these instructions as well as a laundry list of other tips but rarely are job seekers told to let their personality shine through during an interview. Every individual has their own set of qualities and strengths they bring to the table but if they suppress their true self, the potential employer can miss their uniqueness. The last thing you want to be in an interview is forgettable. You want the employer to remember you, the positive things about you and everything you can bring to their company.

6 Ways to Balance Between Professional and Personal During a Job Interview

  • Professional: Dress appropriately. This is not the time to wear a political pin or your favorite band tee shirt. You should look professional in attire that is suitable for the position and company where you are interviewing. If you aren’t sure, err on the side of overdressing rather than underdressing. Keep accessories to a minimum and steer clear of anything controversial in your attire, even if you feel that it is part of your personality.
  • Personal: Tell simple stories. This can be difficult for some candidates but the key is to keep it short. Don’t elaborate on some crazy story from your college years but if the conversation goes to a vacation or funny family story, feel free to engage the interviewer with a story of your own. Always stay away from religion, politics, and money.
  • Professional: Know your skills. Be prepared to share your successes professionally. Don’t divulge your latest diet willpower story or bar conquest but rather share your job accomplishments.
  • Personal: Talk about relationships. No, not personal relationships but a boss that you really admired or how you led your team to reach their goals. The interviewer wants to know that you can work with others and relate to those in your organization.  Sometimes a funny story can help to break the ice during an interview but keep it clean and short.
  • Professional: Keep a safe distance between the interviewer and yourself. Don’t run home and add them to your social networks or ask them personal questions during the interview. You want to get to know them but on a work-level to start.
  • Personal: Don’t let the conversation wind up being a rapid-fire question and answer time. Do your homework ahead of time and try to find some common ground, professionally with the interviewer. Or at least be observant while in their office and exercise those conversational skills where you are engaging.

Interviewers need to remember you. Your skill set, your personality, and even your personality but if you remain strictly professional, you will probably blend in with the other candidates. You don’t have to be off-the-wall or even funny but you should aim for engaging and friendly. No one wants to work with a stuck-up, rude person and if you aren’t careful, your professional attitude may be perceived as stand-offish. Let your personal side shine while maintaining a professional demeanor at the core.

Looking for Employment in 2014?

Let the expert recruiters at Pinnacle Workforce assist you in your job search! We have the professional staff on hand to help you land the job you’re searching for! Contact our team today for more information!

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