To contribute effectively in life relies not only on our actions, but our character. This relates to how we think, feel and respond, so that we have a positive affect on others and achieve better results.
Alumna of the University of Birmingham Alex Webb and founder of Flying Start XP, highlights the traits that some employers are looking for when sifting through applications and interviewing students for their grad roles.
What do your accomplishments and how you have dealt with mistakes and setbacks say about you?
Do you need to further develop yourself to discover who you are - and who you would like to become?
Do you know your strengths and what motivates you?
Knowing one's own strengths and weaknesses enables a person to play to their strengths and to know when – and how - to compensate for those weaknesses. It’s particularly useful when faced with a request to perform an action somewhat out of one’s comfort zone ... and many tasks will certainly be out of the comfort zone of any recent graduate who's still getting used to an unfamiliar working environment.
When have you acted on something that you found curious and made the effort to find out more?
The more questions a graduate recruit can ask at the start of their new job, the faster they’ll fit in. So while other, less-curious newcomers are still struggling to find their feet, the curious ones who’ve already got the information they need will be advancing much more quickly.
How well do you cope under pressure? How have you worked with others outside of your peer group?
Employers are looking for two types of tolerance here - the first being the interpersonal kind, as in treating others with different views and backgrounds with respect. But there's also another kind of tolerance they’re looking for: stress tolerance. This is the ability to cope with stress caused by working under extreme pressure - like, say, a deadline that has been moved up a couple of months and which is now to be met within a very few days.
READINESS TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY:
When have you taken a risk and accepted responsibility?
Mistakes happen - it’s a fact of life. Employers are not looking for those that make frequent mistakes but have the skill to weigh up the consequences of a decision so that if they do make a mistake - they will have taken into account the consequences and the responsibility of their decision, turning it into a positive learning experience and move on.
A POSITIVE ATTITUDE:
Have you examples of where you have kept going in spite of setbacks?
Because mistakes will keep happening. Employers need people who understand that somebody else's mistake may be causing difficulties but it really isn't the end of the world. So they’re looking for individuals who can keep going through any kind of crisis because they know there will be light at the end of the tunnel - even if nobody else can see it yet.
Can you be relied upon? Have you examples where you have brought a group of people together who trust you and your moral/civic and ethical judgement?
How many corporate scandals have hit the headlines recently? And are they the fault of the company itself? As an entity, the company will have to carry the blame, perhaps for decades to come. Looking more deeply into any scandal shows that it’s individuals without integrity who are at fault.
A PROFESSIONAL IMAGE:
What does your online presence say about you?
Everybody knows LinkedIn is all about professionalism, and other, less formal platforms like Facebook are exactly that – considerably less formal. Even so, potential employers aren't averse to a sneaky peek at a candidate’s non-professional social media profile … so it always pays to think before posting.
Do you believe in yourself? Have you ever undertaken something new and challenging and have seen it through in spite of the difficulty?!
If someone doesn't believe in their own abilities, how could anyone else? If that self-confidence doesn't show through at the first interview, well, there definitely won't be a second.
Character traits such as these are essential in the working world.
Have you any more character traits to add?!
Please let us know your comments!
Student PR team