How To Be Authentic When Talking About Your “Why” In An Interview

After hours of prep, research and practice, you’re ready for the interview. Examples of your leadership, teamwork, or problem solving are ready. You can define why you want to leave your old job in entirely positive terms.

You feel like a prepared professional.

But then, a curve ball crops up. A question about yourself. What makes you get out of bed in the morning? What motivates you at work? What are your strengths or weaknesses?

This is about you – but suddenly you’ve drawn a blank.

Coming across as a great potential employee is one thing. Trying to come across as the best, authentic version of yourself, and a great potential employee… That’s a bit harder.

There are 5 steps to nailing a personal interview question whilst remaining authentic.

1 – Stop. Breathe. Think.

The interviewer hasn’t asked this question to trip you up. Your answer will help them understand you, the way you work, and the way you might fit in. Don’t get flustered if you can’t answer immediately – ask the interviewer for a moment to think if you need it. Take your time; an awkward minute of silence now is better than another month of job hunting.

2 – Be honest, but professional

Being authentic is key to finding a good cultural fit. But letting slip that you’re only interested in the money isn’t the best version of yourself to portray. Do you enjoy working on a team, or pushing yourself to meet goals? Are you driven by certain values, or are you on a journey to a certain position?

3 – Prove it

Think of an example that supports your answer. It doesn’t have to be from a job – after all, this question is trying to gauge you as a person – but make sure it has a story. What was the situation? How did you resolve it? Did it turn out well in the end? How did that make you feel? You should always have a few competency-based stories prepared for an interview.

4 – Make it relevant

Your answer should be personal and authentic, but you should link it to the job at hand. For a sales job, you might want to specify how meeting (or exceeding!) targets gives you a buzz. For a customer-facing role, you’ll want to promote the feeling you get from helping people, or solving problems. Of course, you’ve read the job description enough to drop some key words in there, right?

5 – Keep it personal 

This question has been asked specifically to learn more about you. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer – just answers that better show your unique skills, traits and ambitions. The trick is to stay calm, be honest and authentic. After all, a job interview is about meeting the real person behind the application. It helps an employer picture you on their team. Show them how well you’ll fit.

« Back to Insights