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The 3 Personality Traits Job Seekers Must Balance in Interviews

I read a recent article in U.S. News & World Report on balancing certain character traits when going on job interviews. For job seekers constantly being pulled in a number of directions, balance is crucial in all areas of the job search–especially interviews. Job seekers want to come across as polished, but not flashy, poised, but friendly and not stuffy. A variety of contradictions face job seekers in interviews. I’m going to countdown what I believe to be the three biggest personality traits job seekers must balance when in a job interview.

3. Confidence vs. cockiness. You never want a shaky handshake, a sweaty palm, or any other visible signs of nervousness. At the same time, you don’t want to show up to an interview looking like a know-it-all kid who thinks the world answers to him/her. Let your experience and ideas speak to who you are, instead of constantly trying to remind a potential employer of it. Remember poise over aggression.

2. Creativity vs. cooperation. This one I’m stealing right from the U.S. News and World Report piece. It’s vital to be creative and let a potential employer know right off the bat what you can uniquely bring the company in an interview. Be careful though, as sometimes creativity may be branded as stubbornness and resistant to advice. Make sure you give an example of a team project or your cooperation to balance out your creative vivacity.

1. Skill versus teachability. A mash up of some of the article’s suggested combinations, this one is critical for job seekers. You want to position yourself as very knowledgeable and skilled, ready to handle any task that comes at you. At the same time, you’ll be the new kid on the block and will need to learn some new skills, as well as how the company runs already. Demonstrate your listening skills and ask how you will be able to help, not just take over.

Finding balance within yourself is a critical step in acing a job interview. As we’ve discussed, job seekers need to find that middle ground between a number of common traits in interviews to achieve the perfect personality blend which appeals to companies.

Job seekers, what do you think is the toughest set of personality traits to balance in your job interviews? Let us know below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by egarc2

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Jen works as a Marketing Project Manager for a restaurant, a kitchen assistant for cooking classes, helps with database management, does some freelance writing, and more. She received her B.A. from the University of Maryland in Government & Politics in 2011. Currently, she resides in the Washington, D.C. area and is an avid sports fan.

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