Whether you are on the job market for the first time or you’re back out to look for new opportunities, knowing how to project the attitude that an employer is looking for is key to your success. For successful, mid-career professionals, your attitude in an interview is taken as a stand-in for your standard method of operating in positions, and so it is essential to show how you will manage relationships, material tasks, and the day-to-day negotiations that are all required for a balanced approach in any business. For entry-level positions, the right attitude can be even more important, because they are more competitive and employers are on the lookout for the potential for employees at that level to grow. nothing says that you have that potential like a successful and positive interview.
Traits to Cultivate for Your Interviewing Attitude
The right approach to an interview is the one that acknowledges there are multiple different kinds of assessment at play, and that fits itself best to showing how you can put together multiple values or ways of approaching a situation. To accomplish that, there are a few key traits to put together:
Confidence, to show that you are prepared and that you know everything you need to know.
Openness, to show that you share information and work toward a common goal instead of manipulating the flow of information and setting your own priorities.
Ease, or in other words, a relaxed approach. You don’t want to seem like you are not taking things seriously, but you do want to show that you can approach the various aspects of this job without getting your feathers ruffled.
Perseverance, the ability to overcome challenges when they are larger than expected.
Each of these traits contributes a specific aspect to your successful interviewing attitude, but they can also be taken too far, which is why it is important to make sure that you practice how you communicate them in the interview. Miscommunication of any one of these can throw your whole attitude off in the following ways:
Confidence, if it’s taken too far, can come off as arrogance or unwillingness to listen to criticism.
Openness, if brought to an extreme, involves dumping information indiscriminately without thinking about whether people need it to accomplish their goals.
Too much ease or relaxation can reduce an audience’s ability to take you seriously.
Staying with a project to the end and overcoming challenges is important, but so is knowing when to cut losses in order to keep moving forward.
With the right practice and preparation, it is easy to avoid taking these traits too far, but you need to be ready to get feedback and make changes to be able to get the most out of your interview preparation.
Practicing Your Interviewing Attitude
Practicing your expression of your professionalism is part and parcel of the overall interview preparation process, so it needs to be involved at every step in your job search. Working on the written tone in your cover letter and resume, practicing a crisp, professional, and positive email voice, and asking for audience feedback as you practice your sample interview questions are all ways that you can practice demonstrating these traits with your delivery and your ways of navigating those questions. Since those same traits are often being assessed in behavioral interview questions, being able to put the attitude and the information together will also make both more effectively persuasive.
The key to successfully practicing these traits is to asking your practice audiences to include that feedback when they assess you. If they know to be looking for these traits up front, then they will be better prepared to tell you how you’re doing in each of those areas after they have watched you. As your practice sessions get more sophisticated and you get more comfortable, you can take this to the next level by asking people to choose interview questions without warning you, so that you practice maintaining your interviewing attitude even after you get a surprise.
Remember, the key to any successful job search is finding a way to demonstrate that you are prepared to step into a role and to actively manage its duties. Being able to be spontaneous and to manage a steady, positive professional demeanor is the first step to communicating that ability, and it starts the moment you meet your interviewer.