5 Character Traits You Should Show in Interviews (and How)
Elmer G. Letterman once said, “Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open.”
While there's quite a lengthy list of character traits, no matter the position you’re applying for, here are five that should stand out in your interviews.
Being likable is great, but employers want to hire people they can trust. You may be entering a role where confidential information passes through your hands or you’re called on to help with making difficult decisions. In either case, acting with integrity is crucial. Can you be held accountable for your actions? Will you always deliver on what you said you were going to do? When asked behavioral questions during your interview, prove it by highlighting the moments in your career where your honesty, trustworthiness and reliability yielded great results.
In today’s job market, change is rapid and constant. Your willingness to adapt as a company grows (or, when things hit the fan) makes you even more desirable as a candidate. When asked about how you handle pressure or difficult situations, don’t be shy. This is the perfect time to share how you’ve worn multiple hats and gone beyond the scope of your role to help your team achieve a goal. And if those questions don’t come up, be prepared with a few of your own.
Inquiring about what projects are in the works and where the most support is needed is a great place to start. Questions along these lines not only hint at your willingness to adapt but they also suggest that you’re interested in understanding the direction the company is growing.
In times of crisis, you’re either helping to put out the fire or heading for the exit. Needless to say, if you’re more inclined to do the former, the odds of getting hired are certainly in your favor. While you’re painting the picture of how you’ve chipped in to solve big problems or created solutions that made the way your team works a little easier, make it a point to ask about the company’s culture. Is the management team receptive to employee suggestions? Is there a system in place for submitting solutions and ideas?
Do you need to be prompted to take action or are you known to take initiative? In a busy work environment, there’s no time for hand-holding. Always provide examples of how you’ve worked well independently (or perhaps, gave team work a jump start), proactively taken the lead on neglected tasks or suggested new projects to take on once you completed others. The ability to take the lead on things without being told to tells a story about how confident and enthusiastic you are about the work you’re doing.
When my business partner and I launched our company two years ago, our biggest concern when assembling our team, even before talent, was how loyal they'd be to the brand and its mission. We knew that the success of our work depended on how invested our team was in the vision. Decide early on if you’re just looking to pay the bills or if you’re searching for a company and a team that you can learn and grow with over time. When discussing your previous work experience, be sure to expand on how long you held certain roles, what contributions you made and most importantly, why you cared about the work.
Even beyond your work, if you’re an avid volunteer or mentor, share those experiences as well as they’ll clearly illustrate your loyalty to a cause. And that type of loyalty speaks volumes about your character and what you’ll bring to the table if hired.
What are some other character traits you let shine through during your interviews?