How authentic can you be at a job interview?

Michel Jenal · 6 min · 1 year ago

160112_Header_Blog_JobAuthenticity

I asked myself this question many times when I prepared for my job interviews. It wasn’t until I applied for the role as Strategic Community Lead at the Impact Hub Zürich one year ago that I radically changed the way I presented myself in a job interview. Not only did I want to be brutally honest to them and especially to myself, but also did I want to show them a part of me that they were not expecting at all. We are so much more than our CV says, I always thought and here we go, the story went like this.

 

The usual procedure of a job interview begins with small talk and often continues by scanning through the CV, having to explain the different tasks here and difficult situations in former work situations as well as finding solutions there. This wasn’t any different in my first interview at Impact Hub Zürich with the big exception that after talking about the roles and tasks, we started talking about private questions: Things that are meaningful in life, like being married, the why and not only the how and what. I was surprised by this unexpected and honest turn of the interview led by Niels, one of the co-founders of the Impact Hub Zürich. Digging a bit deeper with meaningful questions and sharing some private information immediately brings the interviewer and applicant closer to each other and sets the foundation for an honest conversation.

 

I was asked what I am passionate about next to the job, about my interests, my motivation to get out of bed in the morning, and what makes my eyes shine. These are the questions one should be asked in a job interview, it gives a much more complete picture of the applicant and might even bring out skills that could be of great value for the company but that they didn’t think about in the first place.

 

The first interview went well and I was invited to a second interview, meeting one more colleague I would be working with and another colleague from the management team. When I was asked to come by for a third interview I honestly thought: “what is left to talk about?” The roles we had discussed, the meaningful questioned had been asked and even some private information was shared, what else could be coming? Because there was no question I could think of and no answer I could prepare, I thought to check the website of Impact Hub Zürich to see how much I could be myself.

 

When I looked at their website understanding better what the Impact Hub Zürich is all about, what they do and why the do what they do, I was impressed by the authenticity and honesty of the team presenting themselves. Well let’s see how authentic I can be I thought and packed my Djembe (African Drum) heading from Basel to Zürich for the third and last interview. I admit that I was a bit nervous because drumming in a job interview was really something I’ve never done before. And so I was there in front of the whole team of the Impact Hub Zürich, 17 people I’ve never met before. Instead of talking, I offered to play something for them and let the rhythm speak for itself. And (as you will know) I got the job. It was a risk I took but deep inside I knew, if this company accepts my individual being, my strong passion for rhythm, I knew it was the right company because of it’s radical inclusivity.

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Having written that, I want to encourage you to be brutally honest in your next job interview and challenge the company with your whole being. We are so much more than what we think.

1 Response

“Being in service” means for Michel nothing less than finding out what abilities lie in us to make this planet a better place to live, to love and to foster global happiness. Michel has found his passion by serving the Impact Hub Zurich and its community connecting like-minded people with their ideas and projects. After working as a manager in tourism he started exploring the tea...

Michel Jenal, Community Builder, Community Events

michel.jenal@impacthub.ch

One response to “How authentic can you be at a job interview?”

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