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5 Personality Traits that will help you to ace an interview

Gone are the days when skills and experience alone could land you your dream job, but rather than seeing this as a negative, focus on the positives. Your personal brand and cultural fit in your preferred workplace have their time to shine, and to show that you are the perfect person for the job.

Hiring based on the candidates skills alone is no longer the best way to go about recruitment. HR professional Tom Armour explains that ‘specific skills can be taught… while cultural fit cannot.’ Similarly, Jim Roddy, author of the book ‘Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer’, elaborates that only taking to account the skill set and previous experiences of an interviewee, is not as beneficial to the company in the long run, as including their personality will be. He asserts that the skill set required to complete today’s tasks and challenges could become obsolete by tomorrow.

A quick search of the personality traits you should be sure to exhibit in an interview, to make sure you put yourself forward as the right person for the job, is not as simple as it sounds. Overloaded with information and real-life interview examples from hiring managers and top recruiters; whittling away the least helpful tips can be a daunting task.

A company dedicated to providing insights into the world of employer branding; Universum has taken the guesswork out of it. Universum surveys over 400,000 students and professionals worldwide each year, and came up with some pretty comprehensive results. According to Universum’s findings, the top five personality traits that employers look for are: Professionalism (86%), High Energy (78%), Confidence (61%), Self-Monitoring (58%) and Intellectual Curiosity or the ability to problem solve, and the dedication to learning and keeping up to date with new technologies that will advance within the workplace (57%). If these aren’t clear enough, the ‘Big Five’ are here to help.

The ‘Big Five Factors’ are personality factors that psychologists have concluded differentiate each one of us. They are dimensions of personality as opposed to personality types; so an individual’s personality is made up of a combination of each of the big five personality characteristics.These are: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Openness and Neuroticism, and although potential employers may use different terms, they have a clear idea of what traits their employees should have. Extroverts are seen to be ambitious, hardworking and display leadership qualities. Agreeableness is important to show that a candidate is motivated by helping others, co-operates with co-workers and are team players. Those that show a conscientious work ethic value personal achievement, perseverance, organisation and taking responsibility. Openness refers to an individual’s openness to experiences, something directly related to their potential performance in a new role. The ability to learn new things and the willingness to overcome challenges whilst maintaining a positive attitude are involved in this trait. Finally, neuroticism is the one trait you wouldn’t want to exhibit at the higher end of the scale. People who communicate neuroticism to their interviewer are perceived to be tense, nervous, highly stressed individuals. Even normally level-headed people can show characteristics of neuroticism if ill-prepared for an interview. The best way to avoid this is, and to exude calm and collectedness is to begin researching a company before you even apply.

Targeting specific companies is the best way to go about the job seeking process. Make sure that you want to be there as much as they will want you there. Like any relationship, if these factors are out of alignment in the beginning things are only going to worsen as you progress. If you don’t show passion for your position, because there isn’t any, you most likely won’t get past the first interview, and assuming you do; what can they offer you?

Personal financier and co-creator of the site SeeDebtRun Jefferson McDowell, says one of the surefire ways to impress at the interviewing stage, is to consider the dreaded part of the interview when you are bound to be asked, “Do you have any questions for us?” Saying nothing at this point makes you seem disinterested, even though that’s generally not the case. The interviewer will look at your questions as indicative of your priorities. For example, some questions, though perfectly valid, may not be the best to pose at this stage in your working relationship. ‘How would you describe a typical day on this team?’ and ‘What projects can I get started on straight away?’, show your enthusiasm for hitting the ground running and your interest in blending into the culture of the team. However, questions such as, ‘On average how long does it take for employees to get promoted?’ reveals to employers that you see them as a stepping so, and even if this is the case, a company wants to see that you’re loyal to them and their mission. Whilst these are some general questions that may get you across the line, researching the company will help to come up with a detailed question, and the response will give you more information about the company than a recycled question from a previous interview. So how does this help? Just as you want to know if the company will be right for you, the interviewer wants to be sure that you are the right person for the position. Do your research ahead of time, prepare questions for the interviewer as well as preparing for the questions you will be asked, and you’ll be on your way to ensure that you’ll still want to be there five years down the track, and that you’ll be an integral part of the team.

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