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Was I Penalized For Being Truthful In My Interview?

Was I Penalized For Being Truthful In My Interview?

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Dear J.T. & Dale: You recently pointed out that “the person you interview is never the person you hire.” Quite right. Job seekers of course put their best foot forward. This is why many employers automatically discount half of what the job seeker says.

A personal note here: I was always afraid of being caught in a lie, so I was always 100 percent truthful in my replies in job interviews. I had the suspicion that this handicapped me, because if you discounted half of what I’d said, I’d look like a pretty poor prospect compared with the other applicants who exaggerated their qualifications.

What do you think: Was I penalized for being truthful? Is a job interview a no-win situation, where you can be penalized for lying and for being truthful? – Tony

DALE: That comes from an old friend of mine and of this column, Tony Lesce, of Albuquerque, N.M. They’re great questions, suggesting that the job goes to the person who can be most convincingly boastful.

J.T.: But that person rarely comes across well. The solution is to talk about accomplishments, giving examples – as the old line puts it, “If you’ve done it, it ain’t braggin.'”

DALE: But me-me-me examples wear thin. Ideal candidates ask as many questions as they answer. That’s how candidates demonstrate one critical job skill: curiosity. Companies want to hire learners, people who can evolve and grow, and every manager wants to hire people who are interested in the manager’s opinions and knowledge.

J.T.: In other words, you don’t impress someone by trying to be impressive; you trade ideas and experiences, and you ask questions. Still, you can’t be afraid to bring up your best traits. While no one wants to hire an egomaniac, no one wants to hire a wallflower, either. If you can’t bring yourself to compliment yourself, you can blush, then quote former bosses or co-workers.

© 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

Feel free to send questions to J.T. and Dale at [email protected] or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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J.T. & Dale “JT & Dale Talk Jobs” is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country. J.T. O’Donnell and Dale Dauten are both professional development experts.