Let’s assume you are qualified for a job. When you go to an interview, it is probably not those qualifications the employer is looking for. Employers also look for key personality traits, attitudes, personal qualities, and beliefs that tend to be present in people who are successful in particular jobs or types of work.
Just as you check your qualifications with the requirements listed in the job description, you will need to check your personal qualities before you go to the job interview.
Here’s what the employer is likely looking for.
Can you keep your cool?
Employers want people who are level-headed and even-tempered. They want people who will not fall apart when there is chaos around them. They need people who can handle both good and bad situations and surprises with equanimity.
- Can you imitate a duck? Ducks are known for appearing perfectly smooth on the surface of the water while paddling like crazy beneath the surface.
- Can you keep your head when something goes wrong?
- Can you maintain composure in the face of conflict?
Are you actually a grown-up?
- What is your level of maturity?
Nobody in today’s workplace has time to deal with temper tantrums, dodging of responsibility, playing games, inappropriate behavior with co-workers, customers or suppliers. You need to show that you can accept responsibility and show others how to do so.
Are you completely reliable?
No manager wants to spend the day baby-sitting employees to make sure things get done and get done correctly and on time.
- Are you diligent about doing what is expected of you?
- Can you be relied upon to deliver consistently?
Do you know how to act like a professional?
Anybody can look the part. You can go to the right stores and have someone tell you how to look and how to dress for a position. Knowing how to act is not so easy.
- Do you know how to carry yourself with professional confidence and avoid arrogance?
- Do you know how a professional deals with change, with setbacks, with success?
- Can you emulate that behavior until it becomes natural for you?
Are you willing to commit for the long term?
Despite the fact that the average person will hold more jobs with more companies than their parents and grandparents, no company wants to hire a job-hopper. They don’t want to spend the time or the money hiring you and bringing you on board only to have you decide to jump ship in three months.
How do you feel about work?
- Are you going to show up to do your job every day?
- Can an employer count on that?
- Will you give 20%, 75%, 100% or 150% to your job?
- Will you stay with a project until it is finished?
A work ethic is a good indicator of job success. You can communicate this by talking about goals in a job and in your long term future.
Do you take pride in your work?
- Are you just there for the paycheck?
- Will you just put in time and push out work that may or may not be quite right?
- Do you see value in the work you do and take pride in doing a job well?
Nobody wants to hire someone whose work is of no value.
Are you content singing in the choir, or must you always be the star performer?
More than ever before, jobs require teamwork. You need to be able to communicate your commitment to working with others to get the job done to the best of your ability. You need to show that you can get along well with other people and work collaboratively.
Can you still learn new things?
- Are you interested in learning new things?
- Can you embrace change and new ideas quickly and comfortably?
- What would you like to learn?
- What have you learned from other people?
If you cannot learn, you will not be able to keep up with the pace of technology, business and social change in our world.
What do you get excited about?
- Can you get excited about working in a particular role, for a specific company?
- Can you communicate that excitement in the way you walk through a door?
- Can you communicate energy and enthusiasm?
- What do you find exciting about the company or the job you are in the interview to discuss?