When preparing for an interview many of us compile a list of questions to ask the interviewer, we go over our resume to identify skills applicable to the position, and we even go as far as to lay out our outfit the night before. But sometimes that’s just not enough, and no matter how aligned your skills are with their qualifications, there may be an unspoken piece of the interview that you’re failing. The character assessment.
Throughout the interview process, decision-makers are studying your behavior as you interact with different members of the team. In addition, they’re analyzing the ways in which you respond to carefully crafted questions. It’s important that you show employers that you have the ethics and strength of character to compliment your skills. A huge piece of this is demonstrating how you handle adversity. When they ask you about a challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it, do you blame others or do you take responsibility for what happened? And even further, do you explain how you turned the situation into a learning experience and put systems in place to ensure it wouldn’t happen again. It’s all about framing your answers so that they see you as resilient, acknowledging that everyone makes mistakes but it’s how you handle those situations that matter. So when asked this question do not blame others. Openly admit your mistake and discuss key takeaways from the experience.
Another piece of the unspoken interview is how you treat the people you encounter. Do you hold the door open for others while you walk through the office? Do you smile and say hello or just keep your head down? It’s those small gestures that could make all the difference. Additionally, when asked about current or former coworkers, and even employers, do you speak poorly of them or are you respectful? If you had a falling out with a company be sure to prepare a statement ahead of time as to why the situation occurred so you’re not fumbling for an answer.
Finally, how many times do you use the word “I”? Yes, the interview is about you and your skills but do you give credit where credit is due? Show that you are comfortable working in a team dynamic and are more than willing to collaborate with coworkers if that is something the position requires.
Be yourself, but also be aware of how decision-makers may perceive you.