Ask any hiring manager what they seek in a job candidate and the response is usually a leader or someone that pays close attention to detail. But for me, the type of person I’m interviewing for when looking to fill an open position is one that has soul. The individual must show me that they can be authentic – but what does that mean?
To start off, I ask my applicants, now that they’re adults, what is something they are grateful for that someone taught them? Meaning, what is that one skill they learned that has gotten them through life? It often takes the individual off guard and some have been known to even become a little emotional. That’s because they’ve really never stopped to take the time to reflect on it themselves.
During a job interview, it’s true that you don’t want to get too personal. But, at the same time, it’s important to show that you’re genuine and sincere. So, how can you show your soul, or essence, without telling your entire life’s story?
Our Authentic Selves
More and more people are saying that we need to bring our authentic selves to the workplace. But it can be very difficult to find the balance between being vulnerable and maintaining credibility and authority. In this instance, being authentic is more about building meaningful relationships while at work and not simply networking or using people to accomplish a task or climb the corporate ladder.
People respond better to colleagues that truly listen to them regarding their thoughts and ideas. Also, they appreciate it when someone follows up with them and even asks how they can help. It’s valuable to close the communication loop just as much as it is to start it in the first place.
That being said, it’s not necessary to form a relationship with everyone at work, but it is key to be personable and approachable. Work relationships should be reciprocal, rather than one-sided.
Kindness Isn’t Weakness
Some people think that if they are kind to people at work, then they will be viewed as being weak or less of a leader. But the truth of the matter is, to be a successful leader, one must first be empathetic to those that work for them and with them. While they seem similar on the surface, there are distinguishable differences between empathy and sympathy. But for the engaged leader, we’ll focus on empathy.
An empathetic leader is one that takes an interest in the issues impacting their team. They are open to listening to ideas and feedback and well as the challenges that individuals may be facing. This leads to a more positive and productive work culture. Therefore, when looking to hire someone, it’s important to preserve the existing culture and to ensure that the new hire is a good cultural fit. I know that I want to see the soul of the candidate in terms of how they will work with others.
Plus, at my company, we handle sensitive situations that often come with communicating difficult news to the family of a loved one. I need to know that the person I hire has the emotional character to be able to deliver uncomfortable news and be able to be empathetic to those impacted.
Life is an Evolution
Asking this kind of question also allows me to see whether the individual can adapt or evolve through learning. I ask about something that they were taught to help gain some insight into whether they are open to teachable moments. For example, whether they are willing to embrace technological shifts in the industry. But really, it’s more about whether they can be flexible and are open or accepting of new ideas and ways of doing things.
In answering the initial question, the job candidate shows a little piece of their soul. By discussing how they have grown as a person or professional, they illustrate whether they are willing to evolve and the kinds of life lessons they view as a priority. It’s much more insightful than asking what kind of animal or vegetable they would be if they had the opportunity.
When looking to hire someone, it’s important to look past the resume. Just because someone may be able to do the job, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a right fit for the job or your office environment. Today, potential employees are seeking more than a job where they simply go through the motions. They are seeking careers where they show up and make space to create deeper connections with colleagues and clients. When someone is hired that exemplifies authenticity, everyone wins – not just the person getting hired or the employer. Everyone is uplifted by the soul and energy of each other.
Until next time, Live Well, Live Long!