SELF AWARENESS – A VITAL COMPONENT FOR SUCCESS IN JOB INTERVIEWS !!

By July 9, 2018Blog, Learning, Office

“Know thyself” a motto inscribed on the frontispiece of the Temple of Delphi (Goddess of Wisdom) talks about discovering your real self.  Being aware of yourself, as has been mentioned time and again by spiritual gurus, great philosophers and behavioral psychologists, is the fundamental essence of who we are and what we are.

Knowing oneself is not just limited to the spiritual realm. Knowing aspects of ourselves that shapes our personality is a cornerstone of success for a job interview.

The goal of this article is  to compare 2 responses to some important interview question.

  • One is a memorized, scripted response
  • And the second answer is a response from an individual who understands himself and can draw a connection between what he is and the kind of job, environment, people he can work best in.

Needless to say, the latter is a more effective and convincing answer. Thus, emphasizing on the point that unless an individual takes an honest look at life, his shortcomings, his strengths and many such aspects, he cannot answer the questions to the best of his abilities.

Let us look at a few familiar interview questions and the common responses to each of them.

 

DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN A FEW WORDS

 

ANSWER :

Hello, Thank you giving me this opportunity. I have around 9 years of experience with an engineering background. I completed my engineering in 2009. Post that, I joined in a small-scale industry XYZ and worked as quality engineer for around 18months. I was responsible for handling the entire process of inspection and quality check. Eventually, I took over customer complaints and other responsibilities and was promoted to Quality Manager. I then got opportunity to work in a medium scale company ABC industry limited with a turnover of around 600crore per annum where I joined as purchase engineer. I worked here for 4years and handled material planning.  Vendor development is my key functional area. Then I joined 123 Private Limited. It’s a Canada Based company and has around 75% of share in the Canadian market. I handled product and vendor development and supply chain management. I have always grown in the company that I have worked for. In this company too I was promoted as sr. Engineer. I love watching movies with my family. My favorite actor is SRK.

 

Now let’s move on to another popular question

 

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESS ?

What do you think of the above 2 responses. They pretty much are a direct answer to the question the interviewer is putting across. Think of other various possibilities of answering the above questions.Answer: I am a workaholic and very hardworking. My weakness is that I can never say no to anybody.

Now take a minute to answer these questions below –

  • Are these answers good enough to help you stand out from the rest?
  • Does the answer reflect the kind of person you are completely and truly?
  • Do you think these answers were compelling, convincing and show case the best in you?

These interview questions are some often asked ones which are directed towards knowing how best you will fit in the company and for the position you applied. These are questions that urge you to introspect and reflect on yourself.

When the hiring manager says “Tell me about yourself”, it is but natural to talk about your work experience.

But this seemingly right answer just comes off as a memorized reply which does not reflect the real you. On the contrary you shoot yourself on the foot with a frail answer. Questions like these become tricky because there is no right or wrong answer. But there is a clear, distinct difference between a “run of the mill” response and an answer which evokes a positive and affirmative reaction from the interviewer. One of the ways for you to showcase the best in you is to give a response that completely and truly represents you. The interviewer can see through a made up, superficial response even if has all the right components in it.  But a genuine and an honest answer will help you connect with the interviewer and set the pace for the rest of the interview.

How do we achieve this? How can you steer the interview in a direction that works in your favor?

Being Self-Aware is the answer to the question.

The key to communicating perfectly, effectively, fluently and honestly lies in the streamlined process of reflecting on your thoughts, emotions and knowledge and framing a response that defines you from the rest.

So why is Self-Awareness vital for success in a job interview?

Knowledge is within every individual. Information that you have gained over the years from various sources, from your personal and work experience, by virtue of interactions with people around you is all wisdom that lies deep within you.

The foundation to nailing an interview is in discovering the learnings by knowing and understanding yourself thoroughly. If you recall important information about life experiences and connect it to the position you apply, it shows that you know what is best for you, what works for you, what doesn’t.

It is a given that an employee will do his job right.  Most of the employers are seeking employees who are good team players, who have a good control over their emotions, who are able to interact easily with co-workers and customers, who personify integrity and strength of character, in short employees who create a congenial work environment. A highly self-aware employee will definitely leave a lasting impression on the minds of the hiring manager.

Analyze this response below to the “Tell me about Yourself “Question

“With about 5 years of experience I am adept in creating testing strategies for a wide range of software products. I have been extensively exposed to agile and session-based testing in my current role as Test Engineer in XYZ company.

I get this huge sense of satisfaction when I know that the product that the client and the customer use are written and tested correctly by my team and me.  As I have mentioned in the resume, I was instrumental in automation of testing cycle which resulted in 66% reduction in Regression Testing time.

With XYZ company, I have been a part of many short-term and long-term projects, each of it having its own specific testing environment. I am proud of the fact that I could adapt myself to these different environments easily and successfully.

I also have continuously tried to improve myself. I have successfully completed my certification program for Unix Shell Scripting. This is the domain I would like to specialize in. I am excited that the role that I am applying  for will give me a good amount of exposure in the UNIX Operating System.”

The above response to the “ Tell me about yourself “ question not only describes the work experience the individual has , but subtly puts across some strong points which an interviewer would like to hear.

Let us analyze the response in detail.

With about 5 years of experience I am adept in creating testing strategies for a wide range of software products. I have been extensively exposed to agile and session-based testing in my current role as Test Engineer in XYZ company.

This above statement throws light on the Amount of Experience and the Depth of Knowledge the candidate has

I get this huge sense of satisfaction when I know that the product that the client and the customer use are written and tested correctly by my team and me. 

This above statement tells about what drives him ? How passionate he is about what he does?

With XYZ company, I have been a part of many short-term and long-term projects, each of it having its own specific testing environment. I am proud of the fact that I could adapt myself to these different environments easily and successfully.

This above statement gives an idea on the Work Environment he likes to work in

As I have mentioned in the resume, I was instrumental in automation of testing cycle which resulted in 66% reduction in Regression Testing time.

This statement quantifies Past Achievements & Success using Facts and Figures

I also have continuously tried to improve myself. I have successfully completed my certification program for Unix Shell Scripting. This is the domain I would like to specialize in. I am excited that the role that I am applying for will give me a good amount of exposure in the UNIX Operating System. 

This statement above talks about his future career plans, his Career Aspirations and in ways he can add value to the job and the company.

We will take up some of the important job interview questions in our subsequent articles.  We will also talk in detail about –

  1. What exactly is true self-awareness
  2. How do we work towards it
  3. And how being self- aware helps us craft responses that will impress the hiring manager.

Clarity in thought and fluency in speech begins with being self-aware.

 

 

By Maathangi Iyer

 

 

 

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Gopal says:

    Absolutely fabulous

    • Maathangi Iyer says:

      Thanks for reading ! We are coming with more articles to help a candidate answer confidently during the interview.

  • Ashutosh says:

    The above mentioned is an almost sure question of the interviewer,and the response is not only off the beaten track but also sets the track to further interaction.
    Great tips Maty

    • Maathangi Iyer says:

      Thanks for reading ! We are coming with more articles to help a candidate answer confidently during the interview.

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