–noun: the quality of being authentic; genuineness.
–adjective: accurate in representation of the facts; trustworthy; reliable
Being authentic comes in many shapes and forms and when applied to the job search. Candidates need to be careful about how authentic they are during the job search, or do they?
Get authentic and get the job
Recently I had the honor of speaking on a panel with a Vice President of Human Resources for a top digital agency in Chicago, the Chief Marketing Officer of a nationally acclaimed online company and a senior recruiter for a worldwide ad agency, who all agreed that “authenticity” has quickly become one of the top characteristics they look for when interviewing a candidate in today’s market.
Integrating authenticity into your brand
Your personal brand is about you and therefore, should incorporate elements of your personality. This week while on LinkedIn, a great place for job seekers to network, I saw a personal brand that captured my attention and immediately conveyed authenticity: “Brand Marketing Geek.” Out of the hundreds of profiles I view a week, this one grabbed me, made me smile and enticed me to read. The best part about her brand? It was spot on, she has an impressive background in CPG branding. As for being a geek? I’ll leave that to her.
Connect your brand to your image
While I doubt the self-proclaimed brand marketing geek would show up for an interview in wing-tipped glasses wearing a pocket-protecter, I do presume she’d present smart, detail-oriented branding knowledge wrapped up in a professional package. Why? That’s what her 3-word personal brand conveys. It’s important to connect your brand to your image. If you’re a triathlete yet have the word geek in your brand, something’s amiss.
Bye-Bye interview anxiety
If you suffer, like many, from interview-day anxiety. One way to ease some of those jitters is applying a dash of authenticity. If you’re a digital media creative director and for the past 10 years you’ve worn funky glasses, jeans and trendy coats to work, then rock a dressed up version of that to your interview. Stay true to yourself. Why? Employers want to know what they’re getting into when they hire someone. They want you to be authentic in your presence and the conversation. Be careful to walk a fine line here. If you buy funky glasses and trendy shoes the night before and try to “fake it till you make it” these hiring pros will spot you a mile away. How do you know if you’re being authentic? Those interview jitters will definitely calm a bit. (hint: it’s because you’re comfortable in your skin)