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Selling yourself

22 November 2005

I hate job interviews. They are so fake. And as far as I am concerned, they encourage people to be fake.

First of all, you are more or less expected to wear a suit. Why? Because everybody else does and so you do not want to look less dressed than the other people. Because apparently, not wearing a suit means you do not care enough about the job to dress up nice for it. JD tried to discuss this with me last night but I did not feel like going in to a deep discussion. But she is right.

When someone gives you a CV of a candidate, that CV should tell you if they are capable to do the job. On that basis you invite them. You check with their current employers and they will tell you if they can do the job or not. So when someone comes for an interview, in my opinion, the interview serves merely as a way to find out if the person has the right personality.

Agencies tell you to turn negatives in to positives. You know, when they ask: What are your weak points? You are then supposed to turn something rotten about yourself in to something nice. For example. Impatience. You are supposed to say that you like to get going and that you like to get things moving.

As if the interviewer does not see straight through that!! Why not save yourself the effort and simply say: I can be impatient. After all, that is what the guy across the table is thinking as well.

Why are you supposed to turn yourself into something you are not? It just turns the whole thing into an exercise of who has the smarmiest mouth, rather than who has the best skills. Nobody is perfect so making yourself sound like all your things are positive just makes you look like a tosser in my book.

So today in my interview, when they asked me what I disliked in a manager, I said: "I know I am supposed to turn ALL negatives in to a positive, but I simply do not like an indecisive manager. I can put a spin on that and make it sound positive but I am sure you would see straight through that. After all, that is your job during an interview." They smiled and said: Refreshing.

I don't know if that kind of honesty is good or bad. But I just get sick of being a fake. If my CV is not good enough, don't invite me. If it is good enough, then don't force me to answer questions in a dishonest way. Why can you not just be honest in an interview and say: These are my weak points but I am always ready to learn and improve?

Who decided that is a silly thing to say? Who decided that only a suit shows that you are up to the job? And why does nobody have the guts to break that mould? On both sides. The employer thinks: I like that person but a little unconventional. And the candidate thinks: I woud like to distinguish myself but not too much because that might put them off.

Now that everyone has been bullied in to turning all negatives in to positives, those who are open and honest about their good and bad sides are seen as weak and unable to sell themselves.

It really pisses me off.

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