Finding a job can be tough.
It's stressful, time consuming, and requires an incredible amount of patience. Did they receive your resume? Is it too soon to call? Couple this with Glassdoor's statistic that the average corporate job receives 250 applicants, of which only four or five make it to an interview, and it can seem like a miracle just to get face-to-face with a potential employer.
So when you do score an interview, how can you make it count? We regularly discuss the ways that personality shapes the way employers hire, so naturally bringing your personality into an interview is important. Still there are some crucial elements of personality to accent and other parts you might want to restrain when job hunting.
Does Education or Experience Matter?
Before we dive down the personality rabbit hole, it's important to remember that by the time you get to an interview, education and experience won't be what gets you hired. An employer has seen your resume - that's what got you this far - and yours was likely the same as the other potential candidates. This is why personality is so key. Education and experience will play into the questions you're asked, but an interview is your chance to show an employer exactly who you are and why you are the best candidate for the job.
Make It Memorable
Nothing puts you onto an employer's radar faster than a strong impression. According to Universum's study of over 400,000 students and professionals, the top personality traits employers are looking for are professionalism, high-energy, and confidence. All three traits work hand-in-hand to create a long-lasting memory of the first few minutes you have during an interview.
For extroverts this seems common practice as they typically exhibit more excitement and exude confidence. Introverts, on the other hand, will have to play to their own strengths and find ways to express these traits without breaking their personality and coming off as fake or disingenuous. Kathy Harris of Harris Allied, an executive search firm, suggests that these can be expressed without words from, "the clothes you wear to the way you stand to the grip of your first hand-shake."
Pro Tip: Don’t cough into your hand before shaking someone else’s.
Asserting your personality strengths establishes that you bring more to the table than just your education and experience. Highlight how different elements of your personality make you a flexible employee. While it might seem against the grain of the specific position you're being interviewed for, Ron Selewach, CEO of Human Resource Management Center Inc. suggests that, "People are rarely hired to perform a single function." Today's employers seek not only people that can wear multiple hats but can be groomed or trained to fill alternative positives when the opportunity arises.
And while we mentioned that an interviewer will already know your education and experience, if the new position mirrors some of your previous work, this can definitely be in your favor. Showing a familiarity with the anticipated work can relieve any fears of hand-holding once you've been hired. An employer wants to feel safe in knowing they can trust you to successfully work efficiently and independently as you settle in. For quieter workers, this is a strong way to present your most effective personality traits without having to pretend to be passionate about the opportunity.
Don't Blow It!
While we're encouraging you to express your personality freely, it's also important to understand the boundaries and limits of how far to take that during the hiring process. Confidence is crucial during an interview but there is a fine line between becoming overly self-promotional and egotistical. "Someone who is too full of him or herself is toxic to a team", John Hadley of John Hadley Associates, a career search counseling firm, told Business News Daily.
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The same concern can be found for people trying to be positive about the impact they can have within a team. Revealing your own accomplishments can be wildly successful but it isn't hard to inadvertently express that by discussing negative elements of previous jobs or potential problems within the company you're talking to.
And while constraining yourself a little to provide the best impression is a wise action, it's equally vital to be true to yourself. If you aren't typically outgoing and excited, don't pretend to be. If hired your true colors will always be revealed, creating a negative experience for you and the employer. As mentioned above, for all personality types there are ways to honestly show your interest and skills for a job without misrepresenting yourself.
It's OK If You Don't Get Hired
One final idea to consider is that if you don't get the job, don't fret! As I've touched on several times, the interview process is for the team to get a sense of who you are and how you'll fit in with the position. A large part of that comes from matching company culture. Employers are always looking for someone that fits within the environment and will stick around, and it makes sense for them to do so. Mismatched culture leads to incredible turnover - upwards of 48.4% according to a study at Columbia University.
If you're passed on a position, it's probably a good thing in the long run. You might have desperately wanted (or needed) the opportunity, but if they didn't see a match, you likely would have become frustrated and dissatisfied in the long run. It's hard to be patient but waiting for the right match is worth it for both you and the employer.
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