The Human Factor in the Interview- Part 2
Continued from Part 1....
Identifying Your Transferable Skills
By taking an inventory of your transferable skills you can determine some of the traits that you may have been neglecting to talk about in your interviews. We will refer to them as transferable skills because they are portable, meaning that you can take them with you to any job or industry.
Transferable Skills – Examples: communication, planning, time management, problem solving, customer service, teaching, coaching, creative, researching, selling, follow-through, resourcefulness, attention to detail, skilled with numbers, innovation.
When you are reading a job description or posting, you will notice that oncethe jobdescription moves beyond the qualifications of education and years of experience required, it begins to focus on the factors that are desired in a candidate. This is where you will recognize the value of your transferable skills.
Examples of words you would find on a job description are listed below along with the transferable skills it would take to do the job:
•The Job Description: Ability to communicate verbally; relate effectively with others(Your transferable skills and experiences: communication; ability to convince others; negotiation skills; conflict- resolution experience)
•The Job Description: Ability to organize, plan and prioritize (Your transferable skills and experiences: time management, attention to detail,follow-through; multi-tasking)
•The Job Description Requirement: Ability to relate effectively with others (Your transferable skills and experiences: communication; listening skills; problem solving; trust)
•The Job Description Requirement: Ability to evaluate information and make judgments/decisions (Your transferable skills and experiences: ability to analyze; problem solving;analytical thinking)
•The Job Description Requirement: Initiative and motivation (Your transferable skills and experiences: steps forward and takes action; willing to do above and beyond; can-do attitude; makes things happen)
•The Job Description Requirement: Ability to adapt to changing situations
(Your transferable skills and experiences: flexible; willing; good attitude; fits in; risk taker)
•The Job Description Requirement: Honesty and Integrity (Your transferable skills and experiences: able to make difficult situations; does the right thing; uses good judgment; trustworthy)
By focusing on the requirements of the job posting and then breaking it down to select your transferable skills, you may discover skills that you have been overlooking skills. These skills could make a difference in the way you sell yourself in a confident manner.
Identifying Personal Traits
Personal traits are the individual qualities that make you who you are. Are you outgoing and tend to jump right in? Or, do you take time to warm up before you let someone get to know you? Do you always think ahead and meet deadlines before they are due? Or, are you a last minute person who gets that rush when working against the clock to meet a deadline? This is not about what’s good or not good; it’s about you and your character. Some jobs fit one type of personality but would be absolutely boring to another person. The idea is to find the right person for the right job so that everyone wins.
Question: How Would You Describe Your Personality?
This is a straightforward question, but if you answer too hastily you may end up sounding like every other candidate. What makes you unique?
Don’t give the interviewer with the same tired, old answers everybody else gives. Try thinking of new ways to get your message across and sound enthusiastic about your personal traits. The following are some examples of boring,and then better answers to describe your personality:
Boring Answer:“I am a high energy person.”
This answer needs more detail and energy.
Better Answer: “I am a person who is energized by challenges and problems.”
Boring Answer:“I’m a hard worker.”
The most common phrase used in answering the question about strengths. No imagination.
Better Answer:“I do whatever it takes to get the job done; sometimes working 10 hour days.”
Boring Answer: “I am a quick learner.”
A very overused phrase that has lost its effectiveness.
Better Answer: “I can hit the ground running and come up to speed faster than anyone I know.”
Boring Answer: “I’m analytical.”
A lack luster answer, that doesn’t reveal much information.
Better Answer: “I’m known for my ability to analyze data and transform it into useful information.”
Describing your personality is somewhat like writing an advertisement for a product. In this case however, the product is YOU.
Think about why a customer would choose you as opposed to another product. What makes you unique? Are you the type of person who would fit into this organization? Your job is to convince your interviewer that you are that person by going beyond your knowledge-based skills and transferable skills, to include some of your personal traits.
The more specific your answers, the better your chances are of leaving a lasting impression. Interviewers talk to several candidates in a single day. What will make you a memorable candidate?
In today’s competitive job market it is important to take some time to think about how you could describe your personality in a way that will make you stand out. The buyer needs to be sold on your uniqueness and abilities. When you sound like everybody else, you look like everybody else. Distinguishing yourself from the pack will give you an edge. A little work before the interview will put some zip into your pitch.
Think beyond your left-brained technical side – your knowledge based skills. Think about who you are as a person, and then be “yourself.”