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The Facade of Interviews

Rachel Serwetz
Rachel Serwetz
September 25, 2019
The Facade of Interviews

70% of the US workforce is disengaged at work. When I trace back this lack of job fit to its root causes, I see many. Besides the lack of proper career exploration resources, I see interviews as a way of helping both a candidate and an employer find job fit. But because we act so fake in interviews (on both sides of the coin), it doesn’t help either party find job engagement.

My call to action for both candidates and hiring managers/HR: let’s start being HONEST in interviews.

I’ll continue with guidance for the candidate:

  • Being genuine in an interview requires you a) know why you want the job and why you want to be at that company but it also requires that b) your style of speaking and answering interview questions is authentic.
  • For a process to figure out part a (what job you really want)… see my blog on Medium. This is hugely underestimated by candidates. STOP searching and applying for things you don’t want.
  • Job searching requires time and effort. So rather than MASS applying to tons of roles, be more targeted and strategic. Figure out what role you want and WHY. Then, your interviews will be much stronger and more effective.

This leads me to part B.

I hear so many people who are still relying on generic responses for interview questions and they have no idea why they get nowhere. Instead:

  • If you know what you want and why then be genuine in why you want the role! Tell your story! Be real! Be passionate! Tell them what problems you want to solve and why! These are the candidates that land the role.
  • Put an immediate HALT to generic responses and question WHY you’re answering that way — perhaps you don’t really want that role?
  • It’s okay to be FLUID in your job search. I encourage you to self-reflect on how your interviews are going and WHY they are going that way.

Think about where in the funnel you hit the most roadblocks —

  • Is it in your initial email/reach out/networking?
  • Is it in your networking phone calls?
  • Is it in your referrals?
  • Is it in your initial HR phone call/interviews?
  • Is it in your second round interviews?
  • Is it in your final interviews?

Unfortunately, so many career services teach us to give generic answers to interview questions. I strongly encourage you to answer questions as honestly as you can (of course while being professional and remembering to think about transferable skills and stories that apply to the role/company). But, in the instance that the interviewer asks you a question that you feel you can really sink your teeth into, then do it. Tell them what you see for your life, for your future, and why you want to be there.

I had a friend who shared with me that when he was asked, “Why do you want to be successful?” he answered by talking about wanting a big family that he could take care of. By being this honest and painting a picture of the life he wanted, he showed his strong loyal, familial values and who he was as a person to the interviewer. He showed that he was future-thinking, genuine and honest — these qualities came across stronger and exemplified his answer rather than simply listing a definition of success.

Bottom line — Be real. Take time to understand what is the “real” you before you can tell that story. Before you can tell your story, you have to figure out that story. You have to believe your story yourself before someone else can. I promise if you figure this out, you’ll find yourself with less job search struggles than you had before.

The Facade of Interviews

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Rachel Serwetz’ early professional experience was at Goldman Sachs in Operations and at Bridgewater Associates in HR. From there, she was trained as a coach at NYU and became a certified coach through the International Coach Federation. After this, she worked in HR Research at Aon Hewitt and attained her Technology MBA at NYU Stern. Throughout her career, she has helped hundreds of professionals with career exploration and for the past 4.5+ years she has been building her company, WOKEN, which is an online career exploration platform to coach professionals through the process of clarifying their ideal job and career path. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Binghamton University and has served as a Career Coach through the Flatiron School, Columbia University, WeWork, and Project Activate.

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