Recently, an employment consultant was discussing a new trend in job interviewing. She noted that in this age of cookie-cutter, online resumes and responses, employers are looking for a way to differentiate one capable candidate from another. The answer may be character.
How can character be defined and determined? How can you, as a candidate for a job prepare for this new interview thread? Several questions may provide some guidance:
• Tell me about an autobiography you have read? What made you choose that book? What about the individual intrigued you?
• Who has served as a positive role model for you? Why was this person important in your professional development?
• Give an example of a public figure whose behavior recently disappointed you and why you were disappointed.
• Who most inspires you? What have you learned from this individual?
• In the past year, how have you contributed to your local community (or your school community or your current work community)? Why did you choose this activity?
You already have a whole list of practice questions for possible job interviews. You can easily and quickly formulate answers to the usual ones—for example, what do you like most (or least) about our company or what is your greatest strength or weakness?
Thinking about character questions may require you to think a bit more deeply. Have you ever read (or listened to) an autobiography of someone you admire? Are you inspired by the determination of a certain athlete or business figure? Do you follow national news and stay current with more than trends, sports, and celebrities? Can you find a community cause to which you want to donate some time and effort? (A charity event such as a mini-marathon or bike race counts. Just be sure you actually know something about the charity behind it.)
Every employer is going to expect that you have the basic capability to do the work required by their open position. What may be a deciding factor, however, is what character traits accompany your capabilities.