To be a “Candidate”

I know there are a lot of people looking for work right now – a lot of people applying for jobs, interviewing and hoping to be the right candidate. Recently the word candidate jumped out at me in a surprising way it hadn’t before – it contains the word “candid”.  Interesting right? Maybe there’s a connection between being a candidate and being candid? Possibly.

My personal definition of the word candid would be straightforward, honest, blunt and transparent. Here’s what says:

frank; outspoken; open and sincere: a candid critic.
free from reservation, disguise, or subterfuge; straightforward: a candid opinion.
informal; unposed: a candid photo.
honest; impartial: a candid mind.

No surprises here – candid means what we think it means.  What about the word candidate?  Here’s what Webster says…

one that aspires to or is nominated or qualified for an office, membership, or award

It’s not rocket science, but I had never seen this correlation before. It seems like most people applying for a new position are trying to “put on” their best behavior and play the part; not be frank, outspoken, open and sincere. The interview process is full of stress, anxiety and fear. We’re trying to say the right thing at the right time – to look the way we think the interviewer wants us to look and play the part. There has to be a better way.

I know that early in my sales career I was trying to figure out what it meant to be a professional busines-to-business salesperson. I drove myself crazy! Rather than just being my natural self, I found myself trying to talk and act in a way that would be considered “professional”. I was miserable. My breakthrough moment was when I finally realized I was actually most effective when I relaxed and was just myself. I had a lot more fun too.

So, what’s my point? My point is that when we are interviewing for a new job, maybe we need to stop trying to be the candidate that we think the company wants us to be and just be the honest version of ourselves. Truth is, authenticity is one of the most attractive attributes in a person. And if you’re not a good fit, then you’re not a good fit. Could you imagine playing the part to get the job and realize you have to continue to play that part indefinitely? Life’s too short to live like that.

In conclusion, the next time you interview for a job, dress appropriately, prepare accordingly, but be prepared to BE YOURSELF. I would put money on it that your chances of getting hired will increase exponentially and you won’t kill yourself with the stress and effort it takes to try and be someone that you’re not.

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