Deciding exactly how to present yourself during a job interview can be tough, but scientists have found one strategy works above all others: just be honest.
That's the message from a paper published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, which found "high-quality" candidates who "strive to present themselves accurately" during interviews can significantly increase their likelihood of getting a job offer.
The research focused on so-called self-verification, interviewees' drive to be "known and understood by others according to their firmly held beliefs and feelings about themselves". In other words: how honest they were about themselves.
One study found candidates regarded as "high-quality" by the researchers had a 51 per cent chance of getting a job offer - which rose to 73 per cent if they had a strong drive to self-verify.
Another, of lawyers applying for a position in the US military, found strong candidates who told the truth about themselves increased their chance of an offer from three per cent to 17 per cent.
According to the findings, people with a strong drive to be honest about themselves "communicated in a more fluid way about themselves, and were ultimately perceived as more authentic".
"In a job interview, we often try to present ourselves as perfect," said Celia Moore of Bocconi University, the study's lead author.
"Our study proves this instinct wrong. Interviewers perceive an overly polished self-representation as inauthentic and potentially misrepresentative.
"But ultimately, if you are a high-quality candidate, you can be yourself on the job market. You can be honest and authentic. And if you are, you will be more likely to get a job”.
There was one caveat, though, explained co-author SunYoung Lee, of the UCL School of Management.
"We’ve found... high-quality candidates – the top 10 per cent – fare much better when they present who they really are.
"Unfortunately, the same isn’t true for poorer quality candidates who can actually damage their chances of being offered the job by being more authentic." So it's a gamble...