Interviewing 101: Be Sure to Pass the Character Test


When preparing for an interview, many of us compile a list of questions to ask the interviewer. Additionally, we go over our resume to identify skills applicable to the position. And, we may even go as far as to lay out our outfit the night before. But sometimes all of that is just not enough, and no matter how aligned our skills are with the company’s job qualifications, there may be an unspoken piece of the interview that we’ve failed to consider — the character test.

Ethics and Strength of Character

Throughout the interview process, decision-makers are studying your behavior as you interact with different members of the team. Also, they’re analyzing the ways in which you respond to carefully crafted questions. It’s essential that you show employers that you have the ethics and strength of character to complement 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 won’t happen again. It’s about honestly and transparently answering questions, yet framing your answers so that hiring managers can see that you are both humble and resilient. It’s not only acknowledging that everyone makes mistakes but also how you have handled those situations that matter. So when asked about adversity you have faced, do not blame others. Openly admit your mistakes and discuss key takeaways from the experiences.

Kindness Goes Far

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.

Give Credit

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? It is crucial to 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.

Character is Key!

With over 20 years of experience in recruiting, and recognized as one of Forbes America’s Best Recruiting Firms 2020, Goodwin Recruiting has coached countless candidates to great jobs through transparent communication and by helping them to be the best. We believe in putting our hearts into our work while exhibiting integrity in everything we do. We believe in nurturing solid, congruent relationships with our clients, candidates, and fellow recruiting partners. Reach out to us today — we are excited to link arms with you to collaborate!