How to Show Your Personality at an Interview

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Job interviews don't have to be boring. In fact, they shouldn't be. It's important to act professionally, of course, but it's also important to show your personality to the interviewer.

Employers want to know that you are qualified for a position, but they also want to know that you will fit in with the company culture. The only way to assess this is to get a sense of your personality. Thus, the more personable you are and the more you connect with the interviewer, the better your chances of being selected for the job.

In fact, an Accountemps Survey reports that 79 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said an employee's sense of humor is important for fitting into company culture. That said, there's a fine line between being engaging and overdoing it.

What's the best way to showcase your personality during an interview? Below are some tips for letting your personality shine during a job interview:

Come prepared and relaxed. By coming into the interview feeling calm and collected, you will be able to focus on letting your personality, rather than your nerves, come through. Practice answering common interview questions beforehand to boost your confidence. Also consider employing some relaxation techniques (like deep breathing or meditation) right before the interview. Coming to the interview relaxed and prepared will allow help you to feel at ease and to focus on putting your best foot forward.

Greet each person you meet with a friendly handshake and warm smile. First impressions are extremely important, so demonstrate confidence right away.

Stand tall, make eye contact, and give a firm handshake and a smile when you meet the interviewer. Managers want to hire people they'll enjoy working with, so show you are approachable and have a positive disposition.

Be aware of your body language. After the initial greeting, you want to continue to appear confident. Stand or sit up straight, and try to avoid any nervous habits (tapping your foot, biting your nails, etc.). Try not to cross your arms, as this makes you look unapproachable. Staying calm and still with good posture is a great way to demonstrate your confidence and approachability.

Don't go into the meeting looking to deliver a standup routine, but also don't be afraid to show your sense of humor. If appropriate, laugh at yourself or a funny comment the hiring manager makes. A genuine smile can go a long way towards demonstrating your friendly personality.

Give specific examples from your past experiences when answering questions. This will not only give you a chance to support your answers with examples, but it will give the interviewer a sense of how your personality has helped you achieve success in the past. For example, describing a specific time when you successfully led a team project will demonstrate your confidence and leadership more than a hypothetical situation.

Avoid negativity. When answering questions, don’t dwell on negative experiences. For example, when asked why you left your most recent position, do not dwell on what you disliked about your previous job.

Stay focused on what excites you about the job at hand.

Keep in mind that interviewers want to see the real you and how you react under pressure. By remaining honest but polite, and by appearing composed during the meeting, you'll highlight your strengths and ability to work well as part of a team, even in trying situations.

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