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Job Interview Personality: Are You A Kate Or A Katie?

This post about your job interview personality was originally written for the Career Hub blog and the original version can be found here. I am re-posting it here on Tim’s Strategy to make sure you all get a chance to read it. Because I believe you can confuse your network and hiring managers by setting wrong expectations based on something as simple as your first name. Don’t believe me? Read on about job interview personality.

job interview personality

So here’s a question: Are you a Kate or a Katie?

How knowing your job interview personality can help you find your next great job.

During a drive to San Diego a few weeks back, I heard an interesting question on a radio station. The question from the DJ was:

Are you a Kate or a Katie

The question came at the end of a segment so I didn’t hear the original context. Normally that would be frustrating for me. In this case, however, it was such an interesting question that I let it go.
The implication, regardless of how it was framed, is that being a Kate or a Katie suggests something about you. That you and your supposed opposite are truly two different peas in the same pod.

OK, but let’s step back a bit.

Now we should probably step back a bit and remember that we don’t name ourselves. Our parents do. And that name is usually chosen for you well in advance of your birth. But, as with all kids, your unique personality defines your working name throughout your life.

So when you arrived in this world, your parents lovingly placed the name Katherine on your birth certificate. A few weeks, months or years later you became someone else by being you. The inescapable you. The way you smiled, played with your toys and played with others. Did you play quietly by yourself or did you dance around, always needing a partner? And then one day, Mom and Dad stopped calling you Katherine and began using a form of what you would eventually be called. Kate or Katie.

Does this work for guys? Absolutely. Andrew vs. Andy. Mike vs. Michael. I don’t see a big difference here.

As the segment ended on the radio, I started to think about practical uses for the question in job search.

Here are a few practical uses related to your job interview personality:

1. The dynamic of an interview and how, at times, we can be matched up with people who are just our opposite. Kate meets Katie. Or Katherine meets Andy.

2. How and when to let your personality come out within your resume or cover letter. Also a question: If you are a Katie, why do you use Katherine on your resume?

3. At networking events, do you let the Katie out or do you wear a Katherine mask because that’s what people expect to see at these functions.

4. If you are a Katie and you interview with a Michael (the hiring manager), should you become more Katherine-like to match his style? What if he was really a Mike (or even a Mikey to his pals) and was just stuck in that “professional interviewer” mindset?

5. If you get an offer based on your skill and experience, how should you weigh any personality differences with your future boss?

Other ways to consider the value of your job interview personality

Obviously there are a lot of other ways to extend this idea. My goal here, though, is to get you thinking. Go back and review your materials and your typical style. How do you adapt?

My opinion? Be yourself during a job interview. You have to allow your true personality an outlet during the job search process.  Your personality does not need to take over the discussion, but it needs a role. And you need to prepare for job interviews and big decisions with an awareness of who you are, how you like to work and what environments allow you to be successful.

For example, I have a friend who is a very social person. He likes a lot of banter around the office and opportunities to grab a drink after work. He accepted a job with a company where everyone showed up at 8:00AM, grabbed a coffee, walked in their office and shut the door. Why did my friend take this job? He has always coveted the industry and the role. When offered the opportunity, he jumped at it. Had he been a David, this might have been perfect for  him. But he’s a Dave leaning to Davey.

Does your job interview personality help you fit in?

If you are a Kate and you play the role of Katie for a fun, outgoing and very social company, will you fit in long term? You should read this post interviewing with the social and the serious. Will you succeed despite the sacrifice of your true self?
So, during the entire job search process, try to be aware of who you are. Find ways, subtle if necessary, to let the real you appear in your resume, elevator speech, networking business cards and in your direct interactions with real people. You will be memorable and interesting in a room where many others are wearing a disguise.
Then, when the job offer comes, you can rest easy knowing that they hired you . . . the real Kate (or Katie).

Thanks rumeysa babadostu for the photo via Flickr.

Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
Categories: Job Interview Tips

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