528: Job Interview Tips: How to Be Yourself in an Interview

You can never know what a hiring manager is going to ask in an interview, so the best thing you can do is learn how to show up as yourself and see if you fit the job and if the job fits you!



Megan Crawford, HTYC Career Coach

Megan has been a career coach since 2015, and before that worked in corporate recruiting for over 12 years conducting thousands of interviews.

on this episode

We get questions from clients and podcast listeners often that sound something like this… “How do I stand out in an interview?” or “What do hiring managers really want to know in the interview?” But these are the wrong questions to be asking. 

Do you want just want to stand out just to get a job? Or are you wanting to dig in and make sure this move is intentional and it’s the right fit for you? 

Interviews are a 2-way street, and the first interview is the foundation for setting up the future of your work there. So the true question is “How do I show up as myself in an interview?” Because you don’t know what they are going to ask, but there are things you can do to prepare.

Showing up as yourself is the best way for you and the interviewer to truly gauge if you are a right fit for the job, and if the job is the right fit for you. We often get distracted with trying to sell ourselves in interviews. The mental gymnastics of trying to predict what the interviewer is going to say and having the “right” answer ready are exhausting. 

We can’t get into the brains of a hiring manager, but you can show up as yourself and show up with confidence, and here are some specific interview tips on how to do just that: 

Know yourself and know what you want

If you want to be yourself in your new role, then you have to be yourself in an interview!

Knowing and understanding who you are and the thread that goes through your career story is going to give you the ability to answer any question. By knowing yourself and your career, you can easily link your experience and strengths to the job description when asked about it

What does it mean to truly know yourself going into an interview? A great starting point is where you know and can articulate your strengths, wants, needs, and any gaps in your background. If there are any interview questions that you hope they don’t ask, be extra prepared to answer those truthfully.

The point of the interview is not to prove you fit into “the box” of the job description. The best headspace to be in when you walk into an interview is with the idea that you’re not going in there to try to fit into a role, you’re going in to test this out and see if it would be a good fit. 

Don’t be performative: Think of it more as a conversation 

We have a natural inclination to be liked, and show how we’ve been successful, but this inclination does not always lead to the most productive conversations in an interview. 

The interview is not the place to be performative! It’s the place to know and play where you do best, and when evidence proves this would not be the place for you, then shutting it down in a nice way.

Prepare for an interview as if you’re the interviewer. An interview is a 2-way street, you need to get answers for yourself. Don’t think of questions as an afterthought. Before you go into the interview, think about what you want to know about the company and the role and write them down. 

Instead of saying what you think they want to hear, answer truthfully and then ask them something you would like to know.

You can turn questions back to them. An example of this would be “You’re asking a lot of questions about data/analytics, is that the main thing you’re looking for in this role?”

Practice telling your career story

Your career story is the variable in the interview that you can control, and you should be an expert when it comes to sharing your story! 

If you know your career story in and out, you’re going to be able to answer any question you’re asked. 

Practicing telling it is like preparing for public speaking, you have to practice the words! Whether you’re practicing with a career coach or even just recording yourself on your phone and listening back to it, practicing will always help you get more comfortable. 


Be yourself and make sure the job fits you, not the other way around. There’s no way to know what a hiring manager will want to know in an interview, but this doesn’t mean you can’t prepare.

Know how to talk about yourself (authentically!), where your strengths lie, and what you’re looking for in your next role.

Don’t be performative. You’re not selling yourself to the interviewer, you’re having a conversation so they can get to know you, and you can learn more about the role and the company. Interviewing is a 2-way street, come prepared with questions of your own. 

Practice telling your story. You may think you know everything about yourself, but saying it outloud is entirely different. Make sure you are clear, concise and are hitting on your experiences and strengths that really matter to you. 

Being yourself takes the pressure off and turns the interview into a conversation so both sides are able to evaluate if this is the right fit. 

Interested in learning more? Listen to the episode above where HTYC career coach, Megan Crawford, shares her interview tips and insights from her combination of 20 years of experience in recruiting and coaching

What you’ll learn

  • Interview tips on how to embrace authenticity for success
  • How to expertly prepare for an interview
  • How to be yourself in an interview and have a genuine conversation with the hiring manager

Success Stories

The role is meeting my expectations… totally owning the marketing function. And luckily the founder/president is always forward-looking – he just presented us a huge strategy doc for the next year. So there will be an opportunity for us to grow beyond our initial audience, which is great. I applied (against conventional wisdom!) and went through a lengthy interview process. I did use the resume/cover letter chapter quite a bit to customize what I used to respond to the ad. I also found that using the Interview chapter was super helpful in formulating “SBO” oriented responses, and I even used some of them in the interview. Having those “case study” type responses was really helpful and I believe cemented my candidacy. BTW – they hired me completely over Skype and phone! I never met anyone from my company (in person) until last week at a conference.

Erica Fourrette, Marketing Director

It turned out to be the best fit possible they had all the tools and all the resources. It helped me to approach the job search in a completely different way. It allowed me to put myself out there in a vulnerable way (even in the interviews) and it allowed me to get exactly what I wanted.

Megan Crawford 00:01

The whole societal, "Oh, you should, kinds of things. You should answer questions this way. This is how you should be for a hiring manager, right?" And then six months, it's like, "Wow, I don't like this job. Well, how did I not notice all the things", right?

Introduction 00:21

This is the Happen To Your Career podcast with Scott Anthony Barlow. We hope you stop doing work that doesn't fit you. Figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that is unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you feel like you were meant for more, and you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:46

We get questions from clients all the time, things like, "How do I stand out in an interview? What do hiring managers actually want to know in this interview?" But these questions, well, we're honored to be able to answer them. I would argue that they're the wrong questions. Do you just want to stand out to stand out just to get a job? Or are you wanting to dig in and make sure this move is intentional and that it's the right fit for you? Interviews, as it turns out, are a two way street. And the first interview is the foundation for setting up the future of your work there. So the true question is, "How do I show up as myself in an interview?" Because you don't know what they're going to ask. But there are many things you can do to prepare.

Megan Crawford 01:29

I don't want to show my cards too early in this interview game. And I said, "What if it's not a game? What if there's no game? There's no any, there's no game, there's no pretend game happening here. And you are just going to have a conversation."

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:46

In a moment, you'll hear my conversation with one of our team members here at HTYC, Megan Crawford. Megan is the perfect person to talk to about this topic, because she was in Talent Acquisition and Talent Management for 13 years prior to becoming a career coach, and long before we ever got to work with her. She's facilitated 1000s of interviews, and we were talking about that before we started recording. And from my experience in HR and owning companies, we figure that that puts our combined number of interviews to well over 5000, maybe approaching 6000. So we've got some serious interviewing experience under our belt. That's kind of crazy. Anyhow, we get to work with clients every day here at HTYC. And when we're preparing them for interviews, we noticed that they automatically make assumptions like, "The hiring manager is going to think this, or they're going to want to know that. They're going to expect these certain qualifications." However, since you can never know exactly what an interviewer will ask, the best thing you can do is prepare to figure out if the job aligns with your definition of an ideal role. In the following conversation, you're going to hear how to prepare yourself in a way that allows you to walk into the interview, not just with confidence, but also to figure out if the role, if the organization is right for you, instead of trying to impress the interviewer. All right, here's Megan talking about some of the biggest misconceptions she hears all the time from people preparing for interviews.

Megan Crawford 03:22

The biggest question everyone wants to know is, "What do hiring managers want to hear?" Or, "What should I prepare for the hiring manager?" "You know, what do they want to hear from me?" As if it's just, the hiring manager is one person and there are right answers across the board in an interview.

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:42

So basically, like a math test, right? Like one + one, obviously, equals seven.

Megan Crawford 03:47

Absolutely. And I think for clients, understanding that there's so many variables that we don't know about, what that hiring manager, and I always say hiring team. It's very rare if it's just this one singular person making the decision. So thinking of it more broadly, I think it is a really good place to start. It's a hiring team. It's a group of people. But I think people want to know, "How do I prepare for an interview? How do I answer the questions in an interview correctly?" That's the main thing I hear from clients.

Scott Anthony Barlow 04:27

So what do you find then? And that's such an interesting, and I've heard that over and over and over again throughout the years as well. That undertones of, "How do I definitely do this correctly?" That's one way to think about it. I'm not sure that I personally would advise that way to think about it and what you've already alluded to. What would be a different way to think about it? How do you think about this?

Megan Crawford 04:53

Yeah, that's a great question. How do I think about interviews? I think they're conversations. Even this right now, you're interviewing me, I'm a guest on a podcast. But really, we're having a conversation. I think one of the biggest things that clients do is try to figure out what the other person's thinking. And so it creates so much noise in their head. So they can't ask the questions that they want to ask. They can't even actually hear the answers to the questions they're asking.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:29

I'm sorry, did you ask a question?

Megan Crawford 05:33

Exactly. So I think it's gotta be a conversation between two people. And let's approach it, me showing up as myself having a conversation.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:49

Can I give you a compliment?

Megan Crawford 05:50

Of course. I mean, I'll take them.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:53

Sweet. So I honestly don't know that I've told you this. But I think that you're definitely one of the best conversationalists that I've met.

Megan Crawford 06:02

Wow. Well, thank you.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:04

I mean that. You're truly a phenomenal conversationalist. And I think that one of the reasons that you do so well in conversations is, one, because with your recruiting background, and the other things that you've done over the years, like, you've had many, many conversations in which you had to, like, show up and make the other party comfortable, and then also somehow achieve a result for that conversation too, at the same time. It wasn't just like conversation for conversation's sake. So you've practiced it a lot. But the other thing I see you do, constantly, is instead of, I don't think I ever see you try to figure out what the other person is wanting necessarily. I see you leaning into whatever direction the conversation goes. And I think you're really really, really good at that.

Megan Crawford 07:02

Wow. Thank you. First of all, thank you. I love being in conversation like this. Where we are right now, it's an amazing space. I have no idea where it's gonna go. And I love that. I mean, personally. But I don't... I think that sometimes clients, in the absence of practice, let's say, or they haven't been comfortable in conversation, then that uncertainty is very uncomfortable, right?

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:37

Which can derail the conversation. Like, if you and I are feeling incredibly uncertain, then yeah, like, we just had tech issues not that long ago, too. And I can feel my uncertainty rising, which destroys conversation for me.

Megan Crawford 07:52

It absolutely destroys conversation. And specifically for interviews, if we're trying to develop rapport, we're trying to build relationships and also kind of trying to figure out if this is something I want to pursue or have another conversation about, then we have to be open to the fact that we don't know the answers. We have to just sort of be here. That idea of really being present, right here. And I love this space of being present right here.

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:31

Well, let me ask you this then. Well, first of all, so with that reframe in mind, we're not talking about interviews anymore. Let's throw away that word interview just for a moment and instead, say, let's re-ask the question, "What can you do to go into a conversation with a high level of confidence when you are in that space where you're looking to make a much more intentional change?" Let's talk about that. What would you recommend? What can people do?

Megan Crawford 09:04

The first place to start, the only place to start, in my opinion, is to know yourself. You have to start there. You have to know exactly, as much as you can, obviously, what your own narrative is, what your own story is. And that can be, if we're talking about, obviously, careers that can be why you made the changes you made, what you've learned along the way, what is the theme across that story, ight? So knowing yourself is, I think, the only place to start.

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:44

Totally agreed. And if we're really dig into it earlier when I was talking about you being a great conversationalist, I think that that is probably a decent portion of "why?". Because you're really comfortable in your own skin. At least that's what I've observed every interaction we've ever had– in person, over the internet, whatever. And that allows you to be able to respond and be excited about, like, where the conversation is going to go. Well, like, where will it go? Oh, my goodness. So I think you're good evidence of that.

Megan Crawford 10:18

Yeah. Thank you. And I do feel that. I haven't always been in that spot that I know the haziness of not knowing yourself. I know what it feels like to go into conversation, and be doing mental gymnastics sort of in the back of your brain, wanting to figure out what the other person wants to hear. I know that feeling. So it does take practice. It does take some work to get there. But I think starting with knowing and digging into, "what is my story overarching", right, like, "what is my narrative?" And then kind of moving into, let's say, conversation with this openness, and this grounded foundational feeling, then think about it, I mean, you can listen so much better, and be reacting to the other person's words and their thoughts and their feelings instead of getting stuck so much in your head about, "Well, what do they want to hear?" Right?

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:18

"What should I do next?"

Megan Crawford 11:19

"What should I do next?"

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:21

"What should I say?"

Megan Crawford 11:22

Yeah. "What should I say?"

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:23

"Did you say something?"

Megan Crawford 11:24

The noise, I mean. Yeah, the noise can be overwhelming.

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:30

Okay, so here's what I'm hearing from that then. If we're breaking apart what you said, I totally agree with that. Let's see if we can identify how people can actually do those things, because I heard you talking about understanding yourself, understanding your career story, and then really being able to focus on the conversation itself, as opposed to like trying to impress the other people or trying to like come up with the right answers, right. So let's start with the beginning part of that, which really is about understanding yourself, and more specifically, what you want. I would call this area, developing a deep understanding of what you want, or developing a specific understanding of what you want. So how do people actually do that when we try to break it down? What do you think?

Megan Crawford 12:27

Yeah, I think when you... If you turn it all on its head, and you say, "Okay, I'm not going into conversation to be something or someone I think I should be, right." And you say, "I'm going to intentionally show up to all conversations moving forward, whether it's in for a job or for building relationships, whatever, I'm just going to show up as myself." Starting there, what does it sound like when you talk? Practicing, right? Like, getting used to hearing your own voice, being comfortable with the fact that you don't have all of the answers, right? So this inner knowing, I think, there's a fair amount of discovery that could happen in that. Like, "how do I want to show up to the world?" right? "what's my identity in the world?" Knowing yourself there, and then moving to that second part of, "what do I want and need?" Right? Like, so I know who I am, I know what I want and need, coming to conversation with those two parts is really going to give you the confidence to have a deep, deep conversation. And I think preparing, we're at least figuring those things out, it's a process.

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:47

We use a tool internally called the Ideal Career Profile. And that's not what everyone has to do. Like, if you're listening to this right now, you don't have to go create an ideal career profile. If we just oversimplify what an ideal career profile is here for a moment, it's really a checklist of what you want, and what you need at a minimum. Like, that's it. So my question to you is, what's one thing that you found to be effective in helping people understand with a higher degree of specificity what it is that they want?

Megan Crawford 14:23

Yeah, that's so good. I think people struggle with wanting something they should want. Like, that fits into, well, I've done this in the past, and so naturally, I should want this thing next. And I say new, let's throw everything out. And in a magical world, what is it that you actually want? So, for me, those conversations typically go more granular, right? Clients typically start out with like, at minimum, or even their ideals start out being something that they've already had. Right? Or that they think is within reach, or they think that they should want next, this sort of linear thinking. And I think that's normal. I think that's very normal as a starting place. But if we can go a layer deeper, and kind of throw out that linear thinking and say, "How do you actually want to show up in your day or your life? And what do you want?" It's almost a repeating the question, if that makes sense, right? Like, what do you want, right? And saying that to yourself, "But do I actually want that, sort of, going a little bit deeper?"

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:46

I think that's fascinating. And that's a tool that I've used for myself over and over again, too, to help expose some of those shoulds. Which, if you've ever had that Happen To Your Career book, like, that's something we talk about in that chapter on, what are the obstacles that we don't even know are stopping us those shoulds, right? Stop shooting on yourself. And if you go through and say, "Okay, well, I've written down this thing, or I've identified this thing, or I've articulated whatever it is that I think that I want, like, I want to be..." and this is something that was in the past for me, "I want to be an HR director in this type of organization." And then I go through and say, "Well, is that something that I actually want?" And then start to find out that the answer is no, because what I actually want is some of the pieces I perceive are coming with that HR director in this type of organization. And that was a real thing for me in the past. But what have you found then that helps people to assess that with that secondary asking of "why", like, how can they make that work for them?

Megan Crawford 16:50

I have a good example. So I've heard this a fair amount over the years. I just want to open up a coffee shop, right? I know that you've heard this also, right? And I would venture to say that nine times out of 10, if not 10 times out of 10, it has nothing to do with the coffee shop, because opening a coffee shop is actually quite difficult. But I will say to the client, there is something there. It's the spark. It's this, like, nugget of interest, what is it about the coffee shop that is interesting to you, right? What is it? What do you perceive, in your words, what do you perceive that this coffee shop will give you? Is it community? Is it being able to choose the products? Is it just having flexibility in your day? Is it literally the environment that you see in your brain and that you imagine is very welcoming? So taking those, you know, taking that spark of interest and saying, okay, most people will just say, "I would open a coffee shop." And end there, and say like, "That's it." But I see that as, like, just the beginning of something that's there. I have a client who's interested in kayaking, right? And he'll talk about it and he loves it. And then he just leaves it kind of over there. And I say, "Well, wait. What is it about kayaking that is interesting to you?" Right? So maybe it's digging into the things and the areas that we feel drawn to and we're constantly thinking about, "Is there something there?"

Scott Anthony Barlow 18:28

You know, what's fascinating about that? I'm realizing, as we're talking about this subject, that one of the phenomenons that I've seen happen quite a bit, they or people get latched on to like, "I've always wanted to do this." And you just talked about the coffee shop. And I've definitely heard that many, many, many times over the years, and actually known people that have gone to the effort of opening up a coffee shop, and then only to realize that wasn't actually the coffee shop that they wanted. But it shows up in other ways, too. Like, "I've always wanted to be a doctor." "I've always wanted to be ." And whether people have actually explored that and gone and done the thing, or they've just continued to say like, "That's something I've always wanted to do." In either case, I think that there's an opportunity there to learn from why, to your point. Like, what is it about that? I think that's the question that you said, "What is it about that that is interesting to you?" So I love that question. I've even written it down here so that we can use it in other places later.

Megan Crawford 19:33

Awesome. Cool.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:35

Okay, so let's say that, you know, people are doing a great job identifying what is it that they want, and we're going to layer deeper to get a deep understanding of what we want and maybe even why we want it. But after that point, let's say that I am wanting to practice this career story that you've mentioned– you mentioned earlier, like, being comfortable with your narrative. How would I do that? How would I begin to get more comfortable with my narrative?

Megan Crawford 20:07

Yeah. I think, the literal act, and I'm just thinking about this, right? I think the literal act of storytelling gives us the answers. Actually trying to put it in, maybe it's the verbal story, right? And you could be talking to yourself, you could be recording yourself, whatever it is, but the literal act of just standing here, sitting there, telling your story, how often is it that you get to do that? What is the whole story to say it out loud? It's not going to be perfect, it's not going to be the thing that you go into conversation with, but if we're never saying it out loud, then it's performative. And I say no to being performative in an interview, full stop. So how do we get to the place of comfort and confidence in telling our story, and just literally starting there out loud? I think storytelling is going to give you, give us, some of those answers. What feels good coming out of your mouth.

Scott Anthony Barlow 21:22

So here's what I'm taking from that. Two things– I think number one, is that you have to actually tell the story to be able to then have the story be able to be received later on, in any way that's going to be useful. Otherwise, it is going to come off as a performance, which is not going to come off as genuine, which is not going to resonate and likely not going to result in anything that's useful for you, or whoever you might be interviewing with. The other thing that I'm taking too, is attempting to put it into story form, attempting to tell the story, and actually practicing that in any way whatsoever, is going to be the most useful thing that you can do. Am I understanding that correctly?

Megan Crawford 22:08

Absolutely. It's the thing that I do. Whether I start up in my head, whether I write it down, whatever sort of the modality is that you start to tell your story. But I mean, storytelling is literally an ancient form of communication between humans. You know, the story of the organization that you're interested in, the story of the people around you. That's how we connect. It's connective tissue for all of us. And so knowing your own story, you know, why you made the decisions you made in your career and your life, like, have you ever sat down and figured out like, "well, I had the opportunity to tell my story, what would it be?" And so yes, practicing it, telling it in any way, shape, or form that you feel comfortable, I think is a fantastic starting point.

Scott Anthony Barlow 23:02

Well, there's a lot of story frameworks or methodologies out there. But if we would just want to be overly simplistic here for a second and say, "Okay, well, like pick any one of those." Like, all over the internet, people talk about, like, the STAR method and stuff like that. I'm less interested in the method. And you can talk about, like, what's the situation? What's the conflict? And what was the thing that happened after the conflict? Or we'll talk a lot about SBO, which is like this situation, behavior and outcome. But at the end, it's all the same thing. Like, what is taking this information, and turning it into a way that it becomes relevant and interesting and useful to whoever it is that you're talking to, right? So here's my question for you. What can people do as you're thinking about taking this information and making it relevant, how can they actually practice the idea of turning it into a story? Because otherwise, we can take a question that happens, almost every interview, which is some form of, "Tell me about yourself", right? Which isn't even a question. It's more of a command. But that's a whole another podcast for another time.

Megan Crawford 24:11

Another part. Yeah, absolutely.

Scott Anthony Barlow 24:13

But even with that type of question, no matter how it shows up, sometimes people have the tendency to start well, "I was born in Oklahoma." And that's not necessarily useful or relevant. So what advice would you give to somebody who's thinking about, "how do I take this information and make it relevant in the form of a story?" That type of communication that you're talking about.

Megan Crawford 24:40

Yeah. So for career specifically, I would break it down to each of your experiences and treat each experience as a mini story, right? We're going to simplify and we're going to just totally get it down to bare basics. What we've hired to do in this specific job opportunity this spot, right? What were you hired to do? Answer that question and sort of go down that thought process of like, "Okay, in the beginning, I was hired to do this thing." And then okay, well, did you do the thing? How did you do the thing? And then, what was the thread that pulled you to the next thing? If we start to, like, connect them as not as these little mini stories that there were, as a connective tissue, there isn't a little story of why you jumped to the next thing, right? Because I think, if you start with, I have to showcase all of my accomplishments and my achievements, it's like, okay, but this was all, there are things within those little stories that were challenging, there were things that were imperfect. It's not all going to be this pretty tied in a bow. So let's get to that, "Why are you hired to do this? Why did you make the moves that you did?" And start to answer those questions for yourself, not in a performative way to sort of anticipate what the interviewer wants to hear.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:12

One of the concepts that you're making me think of that has to do with, let's call it relevant storytelling, we're just gonna make that up and call it relevant storytelling. But I found in... it's taught a lot of times in marketing. Sometimes they'll show up in various different areas of marketing, whether it is people who do copywriting for a living, or if you're trying to communicate a particular message and create interest, which that's sort of what you're doing in interviews– you wanted to be organic, you wanted to be a conversation. But also to your point, if you practice your story and have an understanding of your narrative, then you can command interest in a way that you're communicating it where it's useful to the other party, and one of those techniques for that is thinking about it, like, "What led me up to here?" "What is it that led me up to here?" And that helps to think about, like, "What is actually relevant? Well, what are the parts that led me to ? What are the parts that led me to be in front of you, talking about this role that we're now both considering?" You're considering me, and I'm considering taking this and working with you all. And I found that to be really very useful, because it helps to push away the things that are less relevant.

Megan Crawford 27:27

I think that brings up an interesting idea that if you can really know and understand this relevant story, that is yours, then in any conversation, in any interview, let's say, you'll have the information to answer any question that comes up. Because you know the story, you know the framework, you know the structure, you know the reasons why things changed, the trajectory, you know all of those things. And so any questions, I think you'll be able to find the answer in that story.

Scott Anthony Barlow 28:07

As humans, we sort of think about, okay, well, logically,"How do I prepare for an interview?" And we think, well, let's find out the questions and let's prepare for those answers. And that is a very humanistic type of thinking. That's how our brains work. It's very, I use the word linear thinking, like, it's a draws up on what we know and how things work. And it turns out, that's not actually how it works. That's a terrible way, like, possibly the worst way to prepare for an interview. Because that is the part of logic that we fail to think about at that point in time is that, that requires us to know 100% of the questions in order to effectively prepare. And what I hear you describing is a far more effective way to prepare where let's be very comfortable with us and our experiences, and let's be experts on us, and how we share those experiences. And then we can adapt those experiences or those stories to anything that somebody throws at us. And here's what's really cool about this, if you're going down that methodology, is that if you're able to share an actual story, even though they're saying like, "Hey, what would you do if you found yourself in this situation?" It's so much more credible, if you can say, "Well, I don't know what we would do. But let me tell you what I actually did in the real situation that was similar to that. Can I tell you that story?" And they're not gonna be like, "Yeah, of course."

Megan Crawford 29:34

Of course, because we're humans. And we actually gravitate to the specific story versus the abstract "what ifs", right. And I actually have a client in real time who we had an interview prep conversation last week, and she had her interviews yesterday. And she came to the inner interview prep session actually talking about, okay, this was her line of thinking, "Okay, I think they're going to ask around these questions." And I'm watching her and I saw her body change into, like, rigid, she was very rigid. And I said, "What's happening? What is going on?" She said, "Well, I don't want to show my cards too early in this interview game." And I said, "What if it's not a game? What if there's no game? There's no any, there's no game. There's no pretend game happening here. And you are just going to have a conversation." And she relaxed. And I asked her, we talked about mental gymnastics. But she said, "I do these mental calculations in my brain, trying to figure out what they're going to ask me." And I said, "How do you listen to the answer with all these things happening?" And so anyway, long story short, she gave me the recap yet this morning. And she said, she showed up as her authentic self, she was just all in on the conversation. And she has learned so much more about the organization, and she was less worried about, showcasing all of her achievements that ticked all the boxes on the job description. So it's exciting. It's exciting when people can get to that point.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:16

You know what I think is really cool about that, when you cross over and you're no longer trying to think about it is like convincing or playing the game or whatever else, then it allows you to be able to be in a mindspace that is the, one, that feels better. Two, it's actually a healthier way. Because like, let's say that you decide this actually isn't that great of a fit, then that's okay. Or if they decide it's actually not that great of a fit, then you're in a different place to be able to be responsive to that versus being crushed by the news like, "But I spent all this time convincing. I did a great job." It's just a different place to operate from. And I think that although what you described from our client is normal, it is human. It is something that we see every single day, you know, people showing up saying, "Hey, I'm playing some form of mental gymnastics, or I'm thinking about what I should do next, or whatever else." Although that is normal, it feels very, very different, drastically different in every way. And more importantly, you said, it's important to show up as who you actually are. And this is what allows that functionally.

Megan Crawford 32:32

Yeah, absolutely. I think what came into my brain is absolutely showing up to the interview as yourself in order to even be able to assess fit one way or the other, right. But then beyond that, if you, let's say, everything goes fantastically, and you land this gig, it's your job, it's the thing, but you didn't show up as yourself in the interview, how are you going to then show up as yourself in the actual job? It's like, you have to set the precedent that you are yourself, right? So that you can show up as yourself in the actual job. They're not two different people– interviewing person and working person, right? You have to show up today in this interview, "This is me, this is who I am", so that you can continue on being yourself in a really healthy way in the actual job.

Scott Anthony Barlow 33:24

Okay. So this is, I think, actually a fundamental misunderstanding. And I've always thought about this idea of showing up and being yourself so that you can then continue to be yourself. I thought about that if we would go back 20 years ago, I thought about that as sort of common sense. Turns out, there's a lot of misinformation, good intentioned, well intentioned, misinformation out there on the internet about how to prepare for interviews. And I think none of the tactical pieces actually matter unless you can perform that one thing, unless you can show up to the interview being yourself because otherwise they hire the wrong person. And that is, yeah, they literally hired a different person. And then we're all shocked when you show up on day one and week one, and they're upset. Like they're upset. They thought they hired a different person. And then our response be just being human, is that, "Well, they didn't even tell me about like, it would be like this, or it's very different than what was I was told during the interview." Well, they were interviewing a different person. They had a different interaction, they had like, and then we're all surprised, like everyone in the equation is surprised by this.

Megan Crawford 34:38

Yeah. And it doesn't surprise me when six months in, people are unhappy in their jobs when they just go through the interview process in a performative way. The whole societal, "You should kinds of things. You should answer questions this way. This is how you should be for a hiring manager", right? And then six months it's like wow, "I don't like this job. Well, how did I not notice?" There are all the things, right? Because you didn't come to the original conversation, telling your story. And you didn't analyze or assess if your story and what your wants and needs are sort of match, you know what they're looking for. So, yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:20

Okay. So if we were to say, let's take all of these pieces that we've talked about, because we've covered three pretty big areas. We've talked about developing the deepest understanding of what you want. We've talked about practicing and telling your career story out loud to real people and story form. We've talked about the idea of stop convincing, they'll look at this as, we didn't use the word exploratory, but let's focus on exploring instead and interviewing going both ways. And let's have an actual natural engagement conversation, dare I say? And you know, those are three pretty big areas. But what would be the biggest mindset shift people could have that can help prep them to be able to do these three things? What do you think?

Megan Crawford 36:12

The biggest mindset shift, I think, is that there's actually no way anyone can know what a hiring manager wants to hear or what questions they're going to ask you. You can't know how they're going to assess you even based on your answers, you cannot know those variables. The only thing that you can know is yourself. So stay there.

Scott Anthony Barlow 36:46

Hey, if you've been thinking about making a change for a while now, and you don't really know how to best take the first step or get started, here's what I would suggest: just open your email app on your phone right now. And I'm going to give you my personal email address, Scott@happentoyourcareer.com just email me and put 'Conversation' in the subject line. Tell me a little bit about your situation, and I'll connect you with the right person on our team where we can figure out the very best way that we can help you. Scott@happentoyourcareer.com drop me an email.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:17

Here's a sneak peek into what we have coming up in store for you next week.

Speaker 3 37:23

It was supposed to be hiring someone that I would supervise but ended up hiring a new supervisor for me, which was kind of strange and kind of awkward, it didn't feel all that great.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:38

You've probably had this happen before. You work in a new role for a while, and then you get a new boss. And many times, a change comes. A lot of times, it might be an unwanted change. You wonder if things are gonna get better, maybe things will get worse, what's going to happen, you don't know. What doesn't usually happen though, is that when you get a new boss, you end up taking the role that your boss previously had. This can actually be a really awkward situation. But it can also be one of the best things that could possibly happen.

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:11

All that and plenty more next week right here on Happen To Your Career. Make sure that you don't miss it. And if you haven't already, click Subscribe on your podcast player so that you can download this podcast in your sleep, and you get it automatically, even the bonus episodes every single week, sometimes multiple times a week. Until next week. Adios. I'm out.

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