Advertising
Advertising

Be Yourself Instead of Trying To Impress Others. People Will Judge You Anyway

Be Yourself Instead of Trying To Impress Others. People Will Judge You Anyway

Every day, we dive headfirst into our schools, workplaces and the first thing we do is to surround ourselves with people.

We gossip about the latest trends. We discuss about the newest classes our kids are taking.

“Oh, Alex started playing the piano last week, how is George?” “Same old, same old, just going to that Arts class I’ve told you before. He’s now drawing …”

We talk about the game the night before – “Man, he was so close from scoring that jumper, I’m telling you. That would’ve been a winner for sure.” “Nah, they have no chance unless they trade…”

We stopped being “I”.

Humans are social creatures. The number of people who can survive without communicating and interacting with each other is slim to none. However, just because we tend to form, or join groups of people that we enjoy being with, it doesn’t mean it should be our whole purpose of living. There are times when we would ponder upon our purpose and reason for doing the things we are doing right now. We would wonder:

Advertising

“Why am I applying to this firm?”

“Why am I joining this team?

Or even,

“Why am I wearing this outfit?”

When we couldn’t come up with a satisfactory answer, we would shake our head furiously to ignore and cast it to the back of our minds. Yet we must understand that no matter how hard we try to avoid thinking about it, one day the truth will come back and bite you.

Advertising

The fact is, we try so hard to merge into a group, a community that when we sense that something we do would create or increase harmony, we would do it without questioning it. We try so hard to impress the people around us that we barricaded our own wants and desires. We stopped being “I” to make sure “we” are happy. But am “I” really happy?

Accept that we can’t control others’ opinions.

First and foremost, ask yourself: even if you are doing every single thing to make sure the people around you are happy, does that mean they won’t think otherwise? It might hurt to know, but people are easily swayed and judgmental. Your 120% might come across as a lack of effort to your boss. Your application to Penn might not be sufficient to get you a compliment from your parents because they went to Harvard. On the contrary, a design you drew up in 5 minutes might come across as a lifesaver to your classmate. A few words of encouragement might make your sister’s day.

Humans are versatile. They fluctuate. Trying to satisfy and impress everyone is the job of Sisyphus – a futile and fruitless one. Instead, accept that we simply can’t control opinions of others, work on the things we can actually control, such as the time and effort you pay in a job.

Just leave the rest be, and you’ll feel much freer.

Discover who “you” are.

This is easier said than done. As a child, I stumbled around, following my parents’ advice word to word. I learned piano because “it would be good for me”. I chose my high school because my counselor and teacher said it was academically competitive and had an accepting and warm student community. “You would like it there,” they said.

Advertising

But we are not kids anymore.

When we were younger, we had the excuse of saying “we don’t know as much as the adults” – even though it was a weak one anyway. Now that we have grown up, we are responsible for our own choices and decisions. We have the ability to differentiate between things we like and things we don’t. We have the freedom to choose the things we enjoy doing. Don’t waste it. Take this chance to discover what you like. If you have no idea – try. Try new things. Rediscover old hobbies. I dropped piano when I was 15. I picked it up again recently because I realized the only reason I didn’t like it was because it was not something I chose on my own accord. I hope, with all sincerity, that you can find out who you are as well through this slow process of trying out different things.

Be yourself and love yourself.

The last step is perhaps the most difficult part because of how we are raised. We were taught to be selfless, to put others’ needs before our own. Being selfish is a crime, a sin.

It is not wrong. But it is not entirely right either.

Here is a simple analogy. Your family shares a television. Everyone would watch it at the same time. Therefore, to be fair, one person gets to decide what the family watches for the day, and the next person will decide the next day. Would you give up your right to decide what to watch to make your family happier?

Advertising

There is no right or wrong answer. But remember: it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to root for yourself sometimes. Because how are you going to love someone if you don’t love yourself?

There is no one as important as yourself.

Yes, humans are social creatures. There is no denying that. But don’t get sucked into the never-ending loop of satisfying and impressing others and ignoring yourself. Gently, gradually, let yourself remind you that there is no one as important as yourself.

Featured photo credit: Picjumbo via Picjumbo.com

More by this author

Eamon Suen

Student, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Life Is Not Supposed To Be Fair, We’re Supposed to Learn To Live With It If You Want To Be Successful, You May Need To Cut Off Something From Life The Earlier You Understand These Truths Of Happiness The Better Your New Habits Will Stick With These 5 Killer Strategies Accept Where You Are And Happiness Is At Your Fingertips

Trending in Communication

1 How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up 2 How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late 3 7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer 4 If You Think You’re in an Unhappy Marriage, Remember These 5 Things 5 7 Practical Ways to Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

Advertising

How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

Advertising

A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

Advertising

Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

Advertising

How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

Read Next