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Show Off These 7 Traits in an Interview to Land That Dream Job

Every touch point within a job interview matters.

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BY Bryan Adams - 03 Jan 2019

land dream with these traits

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

When it comes to job interviews, there's mystical folklore surrounding the best tips, tricks, and tactics that will help you successfully land the job.

But while the color of your outfit may seem pivotal to your progression, the true keys to success are much more subtle.

In the world of recruitment, hiring managers are finely attuned to the nuances of interviews, and many possess a sixth sense for identifying the best talent.

Working alongside businesses and HR departments, I've spoken to thousands of hiring managers over the past five years who have all shared secrets to the perfect candidate interview.

So if you're looking to master the art of the interview, these are seven traits you simply can't ignore.

1. Emotional Intelligence

During an interview, hiring managers will look for you to demonstrate "awareness" -- both in the context of the interview and in terms of your past accomplishments.

Be aware of and express emotion, which shows that you possess empathy for other people. Share the credit for your achievements and commend colleagues or mentors who helped you get to where you are today. This demonstrates selflessness and appreciation for the help of others, a common trait in emotionally intelligent people.

2. Informed

A recent Glassdoor survey of 750 hiring managers revealed that "being informed" is the number one skill candidates should possess to ensure a great interview.

Hiring managers are uniquely positioned to understand the ins and outs of a role, its offerings, and the specific characteristics required. Given the breadth of this knowledge, you'll need to do your homework and come prepared with information to drive a well-informed and engaging discussion.

Spend four to six hours researching the company, your hiring manager (if known), the role, and its day-to-day requirements. Come up with a list of killer questions and situational answers that will demonstrate your knowledge and surprise the hiring manager.

3. Active Listener

When preparing for an interview, it's understandable to want to focus as much time as possible on your answers. But have you ever thought that active listening might actually be more instrumental in your success?

Active listening is a technique that requires full concentration and a clear mind. If you're nervous during an interview (which most candidates are), your natural response will either be to over-talk or spiral into a cascading waterfall of endless thought.

Breathe deep, maintain eye contact, and actively listen to the hiring manager. Remember, most interviews are not designed to trip you up. Slow down and pause when necessary to best articulate your response.

4. Good Manners

You might be the most qualified and deserving candidate in the world, but if you don't act with a certain level of grace and decorum you risk losing the position before you've even started.

Every touch point within a job interview matters: from the initial email or phone call to your welcome conversation with the secretary or personal assistant. Each interaction offers you a chance to demonstrate thoughtfulness.

Keep it simple. Be punctual, don't interrupt other speakers, smile, and always remember to say please and thank you. For an added bonus, try to do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return.

5. Honesty

This is an absolute deal-breaker for practically every hiring manager out there. If you lie about your CV or past accomplishments, you risk being found out. And if you're caught? Well, you can kiss that job opportunity goodbye.

There's never any reason to lie during a job interview. People respect honesty and will often side with you. That's not to say you need to reveal the intricate details of every contentious issue on your CV, but be prepared to speak openly about your past.

Be honest about your skills and experience. If there's something that's likely to come up, plan your answer beforehand. Use honesty to build a tacit level of trust and connection with the hiring manager.

6. Motivation

Hiring managers are always inspired by candidates who possess a strong degree of motivation. Increasingly, interviewers are asking questions like, "What motivates you?" and "What is the reason you wake up every morning and come to work?"

Avoid generic answers and sensitive subjects such as money or financial reward.

Use storytelling to explain your motivation and aptitude for business. If it helps, you can discuss how this motivation crosses over into your personal life.

7. Accountability

Every hiring manager has a horror story of a candidate who threw past employees, bosses or companies under the bus.

Never blame other people, places or things for your problems. It shows a victim mentality and is a massive red flag for recruiters. Lack of accountability is a big issue for productivity and progression.

Don't skirt around the topic of accountability. Use past experience to demonstrate responsibility and ownership of a situation.

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