*Big thanks to Henry Petty for sharing his thoughts in today’s blog post.*
I’m a little too honest. I believe that “honesty is always the best policy”. “The truth shall set you free.”
However, it’s not always the best policy, nor will it set you free if you overdo it. I had an epiphany after an experience with a job interview and a follow-up with my interview coach, and I’m grateful for that gift of wisdom. How can being too honest be such a bad thing?
I was asked in a job interview, “Tell us about a time when a co-worker really frustrated you. How did you react?”
Being the honest Henry I am, I told them about how a co-worker was irritating me by asking me the same question over and over, yet never took the initiative to learn it themselves, as I have. I gave her an ultimatum: I’ll give you an answer one last time, and you’d better write it down, because next time I’m not going to give it to you.
I never got a callback for that job, and a mentor and interview coach told me I could have answered that better, sans the honesty.
I’m an honest person, and I wouldn’t judge someone else for that, and I wouldn’t expect anybody else to judge me. While it’s great to have that honesty that I’m a little too comfortable with, I can have that internal honesty and measure the ways I express it with other people.
A better answer to that question would have been, “I identified my co-worker was frustrating me and, instead of taking a negative approach, I internalized that and used what was frustrating me internally to create a positive response. I coached my co-worker, gave her some tips and asked her to write down what her questions were to empower her to fix this herself.”
So on and so forth. While this wasn’t the complete truth of what happened, this is a way to honestly spin a sticky situation to sell myself in a job interview.
If your wife or girlfriend asks, “Do I look fat in this dress?” Tell her, “Your hair looks so good I don’t even know!” Or “I think that dress is a great color.” “You could wear anything well.” “I was blinded by your beauty.”
I know what you’re thinking, “Honest Abe got away with his unabashed honesty; what about him?”
Honest Abe was the freaking President of the United States; he could get away with it.