Most managers want to know three things about their candidates: Can they complete the tasks assigned to them? Are they pleasant and easy to get along with? And finally, will they work just as hard for the company as they would for an endeavor in their personal lives? In other words, will they throw themselves into their daily efforts and treat company success and personal success as if they were the same thing?
It’s not exactly easy to convince someone that you “work hard” or that you are “a hard worker”. We all use that term, but we don’t all agree on what it means. For some, it means an employee who stays at the office till midnight. But for others, it means someone who leaves at 5:00 sharp after accomplishing a long list of goals. How can you prove to your interviewer that your work ethic is above reproach? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Know what the term means to you.
You can’t read your interviewer’s mind, so don’t try. Have your own definition of “hard work”, and your definition should be fixed and clear. You should be able to describe it to someone else, and you should know exactly how far your own actions fall from your ideal. If you believe hard work means staying late, that’s fine. If you believe it means trying again and again until you achieve a goal, fine. If you believe it means giving up quickly and revising your strategy, that’s fine too. Just know exactly what a “work ethic” means to you.
Apply your own definition of the term, and tell a story (or stories) that illustrate your sense of hard work and determination. Tell your interviewer about the time you stayed in the office late to accomplish a specific goal. Or tell them about the time it took you a week to complete an important task because you wanted to do it flawlessly. Or describe the time you accomplished ten incredible feats during one five-hour workday. Start at the beginning, explain the circumstances and the challenges you faced, and talk about how you overcame them and triumphed through the power of hard work.
If they share their own definition, listen.
Listen to your interviewer and read their non-verbal cues. If they’re unimpressed by your definition of hard work (working extra hours), and they seem to place a higher value on leaving early after multiple accomplishments (efficiency, strategy, and focus), tune in. Change your tactic and emphasize stories and anecdotes that showcase your ability to get things done.
For more on how to show off your talents and pitch your skills during your interview, contact the Cleveland County job search and career management experts at PSU.