At many job interviews, the panel is not merely assessing the job skills of the candidates. Most candidates who appear for jobs have similar skills and it becomes very difficult to choose from among them. Job interviewers have however become smart and they look beyond the skills and the attempts of the candidates to try to impress them with their knowledge and expertise. There is another precious commodity that interviewers look for and, which is often ignored by most candidates – trustworthiness.
In fact, you can say that employers may be unconsciously looking for trustworthiness from prospective employees. Most of the questions they ask point towards it. Lets face it – of what use is all the skills in the world and being excellent at the job if finally the employee betrays their trust in some way? But I think that most employers are satisfied with reasonable competence in the people whom they employ.
How do you assess the trustworthiness of a person? There are two qualities that seem to indicate this – warmth and competence. Yes, skills are important, the job demands it and in certain kinds of industries and job situations, skills may certainly mean all the difference between life and death. So certainly, competence is part of the trust thing.
When we say warmth, we mean a certain empathy of manner that the person sends out. This also means good intentions and your readiness to make good on those intentions. Think of a doctor or a surgeon. Obviously if the surgeon is skilled, we would have a lot of trust in him. If he also showed warmth with a certain indication that he would do everything in his power to heal you our trust in him is complete and total.
So you need both if you want to appear as a person to be trusted. Competence without warmth can actually appear dangerous like an automaton or a robot. Equally, warmth without the desired competence is of no use.
Highlight your competence because that is what attracted them in the first place when they looked at your resume. In person, you have the chance to show your warmth of character, your empathetic side and your good intentions.
No interviewer is actually going to ask you if you are to be trusted. But there are ways of answering certain question so that they get the idea.
“Tell me something about yourself.”
This is a very common question asked at most interviews and this is usually among the very first questions to be asked. There are underlying subtexts to this question. It is not so much as what they want to know about you as how you perceive yourself.
It is when answering this question that people give away little things about themselves. How do they describe themselves? How do they view their accomplishments? Are they proud of what they have done so far? Or do they tend to downplay their achievements?
This is the perfect question where you can subtly introduce not only your competence but also your warmth. Try to show that you’re grateful for the opportunities that you got in your life and career. Be humble about what you’ve accomplished. Appear modest about the times when you’ve gone beyond the call of duty. Emphasise that you are only too happy to do things, which go beyond your brief, that this is a normal and routine occurrence for you.
Research has shown that if you underplay your abilities, interviewers are likely to give them more weightage. Play on that psychology. Of course, you should be careful not to be too humble. That might attract suspicion.
Instead of saying, “my clients absolutely love me,” you can say, “I try my best to understand what why clients want and deliver it to them.’
SHOW YOUR GRATITUDE
Have you seen how a good boss always praises his team and says that he could have done the job without them? Take a cue from that.
If this is your first job, thank your professors and teachers and attribute all your knowledge that you have gained to them.
Instead of saying, “I was a brilliant student,” say, “my professors worked hard so that we could easily understand what we were being taught. Whatever I have learned is due to them.”
It gives prospective employers the impression that here is a person who is not afraid to give credit where it is due and does not want to take all the credit on oneself. You’ll get extra marks for this.
“Why did you leave your last job?”
This is another very common question that prospective employees will be asked. Those with job experience can expect to be asked this question. Whatever happens do not bad mouth your previous company or your employer. It is one of the worst tactics that you can employ and it is a sure deal breaker.
You can say that you are looking for new challenges but you also have to make it clear that you left the previous job only with a lot of regrets. Display a sense of loyalty and affection for the company you are proposing to leave.
Make it clear that if you had got the opportunities that you are looking for then you would have never left the job. This will make them think that you are a very loyal person and only in extreme circumstances would you leave your job.
Do not seem too eager to leave your current position if they ask, “how soon can you join us?” Tell them that it will take some time to wind up your work and shed your responsibilities and that you cannot just walk out of the place at a moment’s notice.
This indicates a sense of responsibility and a certain integrity with regard to your work commitments. This will assure them that in a similar situation, you will not leave them in the lurch and you can be counted on, in other words, trusted.
You can also show your warmth by asking the interviewers questions in your turn, if time and the occasion permits. You may ask, “So how long have you been working here?” “I understand that you are heading xx department. It must be challenging.”
Next time you are in front of an interview panel, remember these tips.
Contributed By : Sidhartha Mohanty(Class of 2005, IBS Ahmedabad).