You be you, boo
Is the work version of you totally different to the real you? It’s time to embrace your true self when applying for jobs.
Should you bring your whole and true self to work?
Before the pandemic, we lived compartmentalized lives. The last few years forced many of us to bring our work home, where the workplace and the home merged into one. As the lines blurred between our professional and personal worlds, a window opened up between our lives and those of our coworkers in a way that we hadn’t seen before. Think Zoom calls starring adorable house pets, kids running into the room, the home decor that you never expected your coworker to have, and so much more that shows you a different (and real) side of the people you work with. It’s all now commonplace, which begs the question… How personal should you really get?
Being your true self can be seen as unprofessional, a perception born from unequal and outdated standards in the workplace.
Everyone has a ritual of how they get ready for work. For some, it’s a minor adjustment like changing into your favorite work outfit that makes you feel great and ready to tackle the day with confidence. For others, it’s a drastic change, like adopting a totally different personality, demeanor, hairstyle and even values. One of these drastic changes includes the common practice among people of color in the US called ‘code switching’. The Harvard Business Review defines ‘code switching’ as adjusting one’s style of speech, appearance, behavior, and expression in ways that will make others around them more comfortable, to ensure fair treatment, quality service and employment opportunities. Another group of individuals, working parents, have constantly juggled between asking for flexibility without feeling like their roles are being scrutinized. Meanwhile, people from many other minority groups feel the daily pressure to conform to ‘normal’ ways that align with their workplace’s dominant culture, which may clash with their own.
But how much should you change or hide yourself for your career, and is it worth it? Let’s explore transparency and how you choosing to be your whole self is the best career decision you could ever make.
Workplaces are becoming more human and authentic. Don’t hide your true self, it can lead to happily never after.
Even if you get your foot in the door, it’s not always a happy ending. In one Gartner report, over 33% of people who land a new job regret their decision. That’s not all - over 33% of these people plan to leave their job in their first 12 months. Lack of transparency from both sides and forcing yourself to fit into the glass slipper doesn’t always get you that shiny job or team that loves you back. It’s time to smash that glass slipper.
A great job is like a good relationship, it takes time and trust.
Landing a great job is hard. And figuring out what work is right for you is even harder! Once you do have a rough idea, trying to get an opportunity in the real world is another set of hurdles. Did you know that it takes anywhere between 100 to 200 job applications for a jobseeker to land a job offer? Yikes!
Put your hands up if you’ve been ghosted more in job hunting than dating.
You can imagine this because you’ve probably been there. We’ve all been there. Applying for a job online, waiting, calling and emailing to follow up, waiting, and getting no responses. Then you’re waiting some more, and doing it all over again for at least 100 to 200 times until you get an interview and eventually a job offer. It’s not quite the beginning that any of us had pictured for an authentic and mutual work relationship.
Resorting to tactics to get yourself noticed doesn’t - it’s a bit like catfishing.
Competition has been FIERCE for as long as we can remember, and many had no choice but to get creative for their job application to stand out, even if it meant lying to get the job. So, if you think catfishing only exists in dating, think again.
Resumes have become more and more like selfies with too many filters.
Insights from a Checkster survey showed that five in six applicants reported fudging some kind of information in their resumes or during their interviews. Job candidates have made all kinds of inflated claims including being super proficient in particular skills, having a degree from a prestigious college, exaggerating a role in a key project, covering up career gaps, and even their location of residence. All those flashy ‘filters’ might get a candidate noticed, but it won’t help them in the long run when the interview or reference check reveals a different story. It’s a waste of time for everyone.
But, it takes two to tango and 30 million employees said: Thank u, next!
Why did 30 million US workers quit their jobs last year? Was it to find better opportunities? To work in better teams with better managers? Was it to find organizations that actually cared about them? Various surveys and research discovered that...
- 60% of Millennial employees (aged 25 to 42 years old) would quit their jobs if employer values did not align with their own.
- 39% of workers would consider quitting if there was no flexibility on work-from-home arrangements.
- 97% of Black people currently working remotely want a hybrid or full-time remote working model.
How do you show your best self when hiring processes are not human by nature?
The reality is that job marketplaces still rely on industrial-era principles. Before the pandemic, every corporate job opening in the U.S. received an average of 250 applications. That’s a lot of glass slippers to try on! For so long, employers had the upper hand - commanding all kinds of requirements in their job descriptions and allowing their magic mirrors (a.k.a. pesky screening processes) to show them only the ‘best’ resumes. Tons of high-potential people have no experience from well-known companies, nor do they have impressive education backgrounds or the connections to give them a referral.
We live in a world filled with talented human beings from all kinds of backgrounds, yet outdated hiring practices only allow a small number of privileged people to tick all the shiny boxes. The system isn’t a fair one.
And so the tables have turned.
The pandemic has shifted employee’s priorities, so much that millions of them have left their jobs. If they’re no longer settling for the old school ways of working, you can be 100% sure that they won’t be settling for new opportunities in companies catfishing for talent with cookie-cutter job ads that don’t tell a lot.
Remember those employers that had the upper hand? They went from seeing tons of ‘clicks to apply’ to crickets in a candidate-short market. You’ve got to give love to get love every step of the way, no matter which side you’re on.
You be you, boo. Bring your whole self to work by finding a holistic fit.
There are great organizations out there that want to understand you as a ‘whole’ person as it relates to the ‘whole’ of them and how their team will ultimately thrive with you. This is the start of something special.
Holistic fit comes down to a few questions you can ask yourself.
- Can I do the job? Do I have the skills, behaviors or the ability to do it?
- Am I excited to do the job? Does it fit what I’m looking for in my work/life balance, salary, and growth opportunities?
- Will I fit in with my team? Are our work styles and preferences aligned? Can I be productive and enjoy working with this team?
It goes both ways - the manager wants to know the same about you.
- Can this person do the job, regardless of their background?
- Will they do the job? Are they excited about the role?
- Will they fit in? Will they add to my team? Will they give a fresh perspective?
Hot tip! Look out for companies and teams that accommodate this kind of discovery – with transparency offered to both sides.
Work is no doubt a big part of life and we all want a job that allows us to use our best skills to grow, in a team that cares, and in a place where we belong. These are not much to ask for, after all, 5 days a week is a lot of time in your life and you want to make it meaningful.
The good news is that we’re seeing more and more organizations leave the old-school hiring ways behind to open their doors wider to great talent. With a level playing field, it’s a great time for candidates to bring their authentic selves to the table so they can find teams that truly embrace them. There are plenty of organizations that care and want diverse talent - we know because Hatch works with them!
“You are your best thing.”
- Toni Morrison