In his article “Authenticity is Where It’s at in Job Interviews,” David Gee talks about some of the possible consequences of not being true to oneself in interviews. The idea here is that you should be honest about the types of work that make you happy!
Let’s face facts. Regardless of the existence of incoming cash flow, bills are still coming in and debts must be paid. When struggling to pay bills, it’s easy for desperation to set in and trump authenticity. While this works for survival, it doesn’t necessarily help employers, longevity of your employment, or your resume.
But isn’t pleasing the interviewer a good thing? In most cases, the answer is a definite “yes!” However, that answer is a bit murkier if the interviewee is just telling interviewers what they want to hear—this is especially true when discussing nature of the available job. If you really do not like performing repetitive sedentary work, a position that entails significant amounts of data-entry may not be a good choice. And telling an interviewer that you like data-entry just to increase your chance of an offer isn’t a solid long-term choice.
Let’s look at the progression to really see how this typically works out. At first, the job will likely work out well. As someone with solid work ethic, you’re doing your best work, so the employer’s needs are met. Since you have an income again, your needs of survival are being met. In fact, having the income probably gives you a natural sense of relief, and your gratefulness shows in your quality of work.
However, time tends to make that desperation a distant memory. Consequently, that feeling of relief that you originally felt starts to get replaced by something else—dissatisfaction that you are doing something you don’t like. As a skilled worker, you can keep doing the job, but an enthusiastic and satisfied worker is far more productive than an unhappy one. At this point, your unhappiness is affecting you and begins to surface in your work as well. Morale and attitude change, and you can think of a million places you’d rather be than your desk. Of course, we all go through periods of time where we feel this way about a job, but it’s not something that should hang over your head constantly!
So what do you do next? Most likely, you start looking around for other job possibilities. Your experience that got you this job in the first place is still valid, but now you have this job on there that has been short in duration. And if the current position was a huge step down for you, resume reviewers may wonder why you took the job in the first place. If there is possibility that you took it just until you could find something better, reviewers may be concerned that you are doing the same thing with them as well. And last, this situation is difficult for the company currently employing you because they’ll be forced back into the situation of hiring again after you find a new job.
In the current market and with many unemployed, this can be very challenging advice. While we can’t tell applicants what’s best for their situation, we can certainly say that for overall satisfaction with one’s career and for future marketability, being true to oneself is always the best way to go when discussing this topic in interviews, even if it means admitting that the position may not be a good match for you.