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As a job seeker, it’s tempting to put on your best front, cover up your weaknesses and imperfections, and brag about yourself. After all, you want the job, right? You worry that if you’re too honest and they learn about some of your flaws, they won’t hire you. But if you’re not truthful, they won’t trust you. Here’s how to be just the right amount of honest in your job interviews.

Focus on improvement

They’re going to ask about your weaknesses, so be prepared to talk about them as areas for growth and improvement. For example, if you struggle with being punctual, talk about the steps you’ve been taking to make sure you’re on time—setting the alarm, gathering your belongings the night before, and prepping your breakfast ahead of time. And talk about the strides you’ve made getting better. Or, if you’re working on composing emails and written documents, talk about the courses you’ve taken on it or other steps you’ve made to improve.

Stay positive

Authenticity is essential, but there are some topics that you can gloss over in the interest of staying positive. If they ask you about your last boss—an individual you despised—don’t mention that part. Focus on how appreciative you are for your previous employer and everything you learned in that position, but try not to get into your relationship with your boss. Or, if they ask you why you’re looking for a new position, again, keep it positive. Don’t whine or complain about circumstances at your last employer. Instead, highlight what you’re looking forward to—new challenges, the promise of career advancement, and more professional development.

Personal lives can stay personal

A lot of hiring managers are sincere when they ask personal questions about your friends and family and hobbies and pursuits, but be careful what you tell them. If you mention that you and your significant other are considering a move to Singapore or taking a few months off to backpack through Europe, a hiring manager might immediately take you off their shortlist because they assume you won’t be around long-term. Or, if you’re a passionate snowboarder and you mention that you often take Fridays and Mondays off in favor of long weekends hitting the slopes, they’ll assume you’re not reliable and likely to miss a lot of work. If you’re a female and you say something about your plans to have a baby soon, they might assume that you’re not going to be a long-term hire.

Be sincere

Ultimately, though, your hiring manager wants to learn as much about you as possible, and the more straightforward you are, the better they’ll be able to determine how well matched you are for the company. If you’re fake and pretentious, they won’t be able to get an accurate read on you.

For more tips on how SSI can help you find a company and a position that’s a good fit for you, contact our team today.


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