Do You Have a Great Work Ethic? Prove it!

April 3rd, 2017

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.

Tell stories.

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.

Nonverbal Moves that Can Help You Ace Your Interview

February 12th, 2016

You’re in the process of preparing for your interview, and you already have the basics nailed down. You’re ready for tough questions about your experience and ambition, and you know that you need to project nonverbal cues that signal confidence, competence, and friendliness. Your firm handshake and direct eye contact are locked and loaded, and your smile has never been more radiant. But here are a few subtle non-verbal gestures you may not have considered. Add these to your list and you’ll gain one more slight edge over your competition.

Form a personal connection with your chair.

Chances are, you won’t conduct this interview standing up. So when you’re offered a chair, take it. And take the entire chair, don’t just perch at the edge. Make sure your rear end is deeply planted and squarely settled in the middle of the seating area, and envision your body filling the space from one armrest to the other. Relax your arms at your sides and keep your shoulders rolled back and as far from away from each other as you can get them. The chair is your friend, and it belongs to you for the duration of the interview session.

Eye placement

Eye contact is a must, but don’t take this tip too literally. If you do, you’ll end staring hypnotically at your interviewer with an unblinking gaze that’s unnatural. Keep your gaze open, frank, friendly, and fearless. Take in your interviewer’s entire face and consider their expression. If you’d like to break your gaze, glance down at her hands for a moment. If no place seems like a safe resting point, fix your gaze on the bridge of your interviewer’s nose.

Expressive hands

If you naturally talk with your hands, that’s great. Let those hands fly. Bring them up and flail them around in whatever way seems natural. But if you don’t know what to do with your hands, try this: Keep them relaxed on your armrests and open (no balled fists). From time to time, place your elbows gently on the table and rest your hands in front of your body. Try not to let them come between the interviewer’s gaze and your face (in other words, don’t touch your face or hide it from view).


This is a very subtle interview move that can convey volumes of information about your experience and confidence: Instead of blurting answers to your interviewer’s questions, pause for two full seconds between the end of their sentence and the beginning of yours. Actually count out two full Mississippi’s. Take that moment to breathe deeply and collect your thoughts.

Ace your interview and make a great impression by using every tool at your disposal. For more on how to make this happen, reach out to the Gastonia job search experts at PSU.

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