The Secret Sauce for Job Seekers: Master Self-Awareness to Ace Your Interview
So, you’re ready to start your journey towards your dream job. You have the requirements needed to apply to the companies you want. But how exactly can you ensure you’ll be chosen among everybody else? How can you ace your interview and pass the hiring process?
The answer lies inside of you. You need to have self-awareness to secure the position you’re aiming for.
Self-Awareness in a Nutshell
Self-awareness requires knowing who you are and the factors that can affect you. It allows you to be an expert in your holistic self. In a nutshell, being self-aware means understanding your thoughts, feelings, strengths, and weaknesses. Moreover, you have the ability to go deeper and explain the reasons behind them.
Self-awareness is a cornerstone of both your personal and professional growth. For you to develop, you need to be aware of what you need to improve on.
Why do Employers Look for Self-Awareness in Candidates?
According to Claire Johnson, a previous vice president at Google for a decade, the one thing she looked for in a candidate was self-awareness.¹
Although skills and talent are important requirements for a position, they’re learned and improved through time. Experience in the field can help develop any lacking skills but it doesn’t necessarily increase a person’s motivation.
Research published in Sage Journals found that self-awareness helps you notice things that get in the way of your goals.² When individuals are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, they become more motivated to overcome challenges and demonstrate personal growth.
Below are three more reasons why employers seek candidates who are self-aware.
- Ownership – People who are self-aware understand their weaknesses and shortcomings. This means they are less defensive when they make mistakes. Instead of doing anything to cover up any errors they’ve committed, self-aware people willingly take accountability for their shortcomings. They reflect on their blunders, learn from the experience, and commit to not repeating the action again.
- Adaptability – A self-aware person knows their preferences when working. This means they understand their own ways of communicating as well as their work patterns and tendencies. Using that knowledge, allows them to easily navigate through different situations at work, especially during situations that call for communication and collaboration with others.
- High Emotional Quotient – A self-aware employee usually possesses good emotional intelligence and can better handle stress at work. Not only can they maintain a positive mindset, but they also have the potential to be good leaders or team members. This is because they have the ability to help others regulate their own thoughts while building strong, trusting relationships with them.
Manifestation of Self-Awareness in the Application Process
If you’re aiming to land your dream role, self-awareness is crucial to separate yourself from other candidates. It goes without saying that anyone who applies for a position is interested in the job description.
Most likely, they also have the same qualifications based on the job postings, so it’s natural for employers to look for a skill not written down on the board. It’s normal for them to keep an eye out on unique candidates – this is where self-awareness can help you!
Even without effort, being self-aware manifests in all stages of the application process. For example, when preparing your resume, self-aware candidates can make a detailed list of strengths and weaknesses. Instead of simply writing down work experiences, it’s best to include what you’ve learned or gained from past opportunities.
Since employers prefer candidates who are knowledgeable about their skills, abilities, and experiences, you have better chances of getting invited to an interview if you have a detailed resume.
Acing the Interview
Once you’re in front of the hiring manager for your job interview, self-awareness can manifest naturally through your responses.
Clear and Accurate Answers
When asked about your personal and professional self in your job interviews, your awareness is manifested through your ability to quickly give clear and accurate answers to interview questions.
For example, you’re asked about your strengths and weaknesses as a tech employee. If you can respond immediately and with confidence, the hiring manager can conclude you’ve already reflected on this question for your own growth.
Also, if you can answer questions about your motivations, passion, and professional goals in detail, you’re showcasing holistic knowledge about yourself.
Reflection About Experiences
Even if a candidate attended a hundred seminars but didn’t have insights even just for one of them, then the experiences are useless.
An employer prefers people who can reflect on their past and use them to improve. For a good interview, it’s good if you can carefully articulate the lessons you’ve learned from your past and growth you’ve achieved over the years. It’s even better if you can incorporate what you’ve learned when responding to the interview questions given.
Read More: From Gratitude to Greatness
Regardless of whether your experiences are negative or positive, what’s important is how you use them for your own development. For example, you had workmates who treated you terribly. Instead of dismissing the experience as a bad memory, you can explain how it taught you how to set boundaries or how you can communicate with an unwilling party.
Now that you understand why employees with self-awareness are in demand in any industry, you may be wondering if you fit the bill. Take the time to answer the following 20 questions about self-awareness to find out:
- What areas do you excel at?
- What are the skills you need to improve?
- What are your core values?
- What’s the most important thing in your career?
- What motivates you to keep working?
- What are your career goals?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- What pushes you to improve your professional self?
- How do you react to receiving bad news at work?
- How do you manage strong emotions?
- How do you handle being stressed or overwhelmed?
- Are you open to receiving constructive criticism from anyone?
- How do you feel about the concept of “feedback”?
- Have you ever changed yourself based on the feedback you received?
- Do you dedicate time to reflect on your past mistakes?
- Are you able to express your ideas and opinions clearly to others?
- Do you actively listen to others and try to understand different perspectives?
- Do you give importance to your physical and mental health?
- What do you do to nurture your overall health?
- Do you hold yourself accountable for the mistakes you’ve made that no one else initially knew about?
For the questions asked which are answerable by yes or no, answering yes means you may already be self-aware. Take the number 14 as an example. Responding ‘yes’ to means you ‘re already practicing self-awareness. You’re already giving the time and effort to know your limits and capabilities.
Answering ‘yes’ also indicates you’re not afraid of admitting you made mistakes in the past since you’re confident you won’t repeat them anymore. This is definitely the healthy mindset employers look for.
Meanwhile, if you had an easy time answering open-ended questions, it means you already have a good understanding of yourself as an individual and as a professional. You’ve already thought about those self-related questions even before you’ve read this article. That means you’re already self-aware to a certain extent.
If there were questions you had difficulty answering or you responded ‘no’ many times, don’t sweat it! You can develop self-awareness with constant practice. It’s not too late to dedicate some time to reflect on the questions above. It’s also never too late to change your habits and attitudes for the better.
REACH YOUR CAREER GOAL WITH ON-DEMAND GROUP
As a staffing company attentive to your professional journey, we at On-Demand Group can help you land your job with the right company. Whether you prefer working remotely, in an office, or a hybrid of the two, we can help you search for a company that meets your requirements.
With your help, we can help organizations with your expertise while also allowing you the professional growth you seek. Contact us today to learn more.
1 Johnson, Claire Hughes, “I was VP at Google for 10 years. Here’s the No. 1 skill I looked for at job interviews—very few people had it”. CNBC, 7 Mar. 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/03/07/former-google-vp-shares-no-1-skill-she-looked-for-at-job-interviews-that-people-rarely-had.html Accessed 19 July 2023.
2 Kreibich, Antonia, Marie Hennecke, and Veronika Brandstätter. “The Effect of Self-Awareness on the Identification of Goal-Related Obstacles.” Journal of Personality, vol. 34, no. 2, Sage Publications, 2021, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1002/per.2234 Accessed 19 July 2023.