3 habits of highly desirable candidates

General Assembly

 
Congratulations! You landed an interview at a great company, but do you have the skills you need to stand out? Typically the interview process includes several rounds of meetings and a variety of challenging questions. Initially, you might have an interview with HR or the direct manager of the position, but more often than not, you’ll meet with several people, even the leadership team, to help determine if you’re the right fit for the role.

Here are three very important skills you must master and communicate before sitting down for your next interview:

 

1. BE A GREAT LISTENER.

Good listeners make excellent employees. Whether there are one or 500 people in the company, listening is key to good communication. Being a good listener requires a lot of focus, which is something you must practice to master. Since teamwork is vital in most workplace settings, a good listener is usually a great teammate. They understand emotional intelligence, perform their work better and are more open to learning.

How to apply in an interview:

Wait until the interviewer is done asking you a question before trying to jump in with an answer. Even if they get ahead of themselves and ask a string of questions, take your time to answer each one independently. The best thing you can do is to repeat the question back. This guarantees that you heard them correctly and that you understand what they are asking.

Practice:

Try going for a week without giving your unsolicited opinion and see how much information you actually take in as opposed to preparing your response before the person you’re a speaking to is even done talking. You’ll gain insight on how much you really miss out on when you’re not actively listening.

 

2. SHOW YOU HAVE A TEACHABLE NATURE.

It’s important to always want to learn and never become complacent with the knowledge you have. It shows the leadership team that you’re open to other people’s ideas, you’re okay with constructive feedback, and you don’t let pride get in the way of asking for help. These attributes can build some of the best and most successful teams.

How to apply in an interview:

Perhaps you’re not an “expert” in an area of your field, but the company has taken an interest in you anyway. This is a good opportunity to show how teachable you are. The best way to convey your eagerness is to ask meaningful questions. You could ask specific questions about the company, the potential role, and workflow or even around the systems they use. Also, if you’ve taken any classes, read any great books or had a conversation with an exceptional takeaway, mention what you learned and how it could apply to that role.

Practice:

Learn something new this week that you can apply to your career. Watch an educational video, read an article, learn another skill by taking a class or meet up with a friend in your field and ask questions about what they do (you’ll get to practice listening too!).

 

3. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF.

Are you who you say you are? Whenever a company starts interviewing new candidates, you can bet the current employees are talking. They want to know who this person is, where they came from, what their first impressions were, etc. Making sure you would be a good fit in the company culture is key to the hiring team. They don’t want to disrupt a thriving culture. Confident interviewees, who can express similar values and interest, will move to the favorites list quickly. Don’t hold back—be yourself and share who you really are. If the leadership team can connect with you, then their employees can too!

How to apply in an interview:

Steer the conversation towards how well you worked with your teammates, how close you were with your former co-workers, or what values you prioritize in the workplace. Make sure to ask questions about company culture, so you can decide if it aligns with your own work ethic and values.

Here are a few examples: Do they have company outings? Staff lunches? Company swag? What is the management structure like? How are ideas shared? Who’s the longest standing employee? Have they held multiple roles? Figure out what’s important to you and then ask about it.

Practice:

Get to know the company before applying. Learn their values and beliefs, read up on what their “work life” is like and check out their employees on the Internet to see what they have to say. Make sure you want the same thing out of your new job as what’s expected.

The goal for any interview is to show the hiring team who you are, your unique skills, and the value you could add to the company. Make their time and investment, in who you are, worth it.

If you can master these very important skills and show how valuable of an asset you could be, you’ll improve your chances of getting the job you really want.

Want to hear even more advice from seasoned experts?  Join General Assembly on Monday, February 27th at 5:30 pm for our "Craft Your Career" event in order to learn strategies on take your career to the next level. Register here.

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