Preparing for a job interview and wondering how you can showcase your growth mindset? Hays’ Chris Dottie shares his tips.
I think we’d all agree that the one thing that’s constant in today’s rapidly evolving world of work is change. And working with this backdrop of constant change means that in order to be successful, we must try and approach every task – no matter how challenging – with a mindset of growth.
Why? Because all this change means that we’re ultimately going to be operating out of our comfort zones more often. Employers are also recognising that if their employees are fixed in their mindsets, then there is an innate risk that their organisations will be fixed too – fixed in a stitch in time, without the necessary ingredients to innovate and drive forward. That’s a scary place to be.
So, how can you prove in a job interview that, more often than not, your default mindset is one of growth? Below I’ve plotted out eight key ways I think you can do this.
1. Prepare fully for the interview beforehand
Those with a growth mindset will see a job interview as an opportunity to learn more about a business and the industry it operates in. They’ll see it as a challenge that they need to overcome in a proactive and positive way, instead of something to feel daunted or intimidated by.
One way you can really show your interviewer that you have the growth mindset they’re looking for is to not scrimp on your pre-interview research. See your interview preparation as a project in itself – be thorough and don’t leave any stone unturned.
Research the company in full, your interviewer, recent industry news or product launches – everything. Doing so will demonstrate to your interviewer that you’re proactive, engaged and have embraced the challenge of preparing for the interview wholeheartedly.
2. Demonstrate your strong problem-solving skills
Those with a growth mindset try to approach any problems they face head-on. They aren’t afraid to make mistakes as part of that process and, instead, tend to see problems as an opportunity to learn and develop. They have an unwavering belief in their ability to solve them even if, admittedly, the problem might be in an area they aren’t an expert in.
So, prior to your next interview, try to think back to when you’ve had to solve a problem – ideally a problem that was a little out of your comfort zone. Be prepared to talk your interviewer through how you approached solving that problem from start to finish, explaining how you proactively handled any hurdles along the way and, importantly, what you learnt during that process.
And don’t worry if you didn’t actually manage to solve the problem – what matters in the interviewer’s mind is that you have a proactive approach to problem solving and tackle them head on.
3. Highlight your commitment to continuous upskilling
Those with a growth mindset love learning – and not just in those areas in which they feel the most comfortable with or are even the most naturally interested in – but in a broad range of topics. They have a zest for self-improvement. So, reading, listening to podcasts, working towards qualifications or attending industry events are all habits, or even rituals, for them.
They also understand that the mind is a muscle – it needs challenges to grow – and that learning a new skill isn’t just going to happen overnight. They know that to really master a new skill it takes practise, effort and time. Lastly, they try to see those who they may find intimidating as people they can learn from. Essentially, those with a growth mindset have an unwavering commitment to their own learning – and try to see everything and everyone they come into contact with as an opportunity to get better.
So, in your next job interview, voice your commitment to continuous upskilling and lifelong learning. If you’ve learned any new skills or attended any training courses, then weave these into your answers. It’s also a good idea to ask the interviewer about the organisation’s commitment to supporting the learning and development of their employees.
4. Admit your failures and explain what you’ve learned from them
Those with a growth mindset appreciate and understand that failure is a key aspect of learning and growth. That awkward interview question, ‘can you tell me about a time you’ve failed?’ isn’t one to shy away from.
So, before the interview, plan out which failure you will talk about and make it genuine – perhaps an oversight or error that caused a slight ripple in the ocean. In the interview, don’t make excuses or blame others. Instead, explain how it happened and, importantly, explain what you learned and what you would do differently next time.
5. Showcase how you set goals and are motivated to reach them
People with a growth mindset are well versed in, wherever possible, taking a proactive approach to any task, no matter now challenging or difficult they may perceive it to be. A common tactic is setting SMART (specific, manageable, assignable, relevant, timely) goals or targets – breaking down each project into manageable and realistic tasks, with the completion of each of these acting as an innate boost or a motivator.
So, in your next interview, explain how you like to set yourself personal SMART goals or work towards set milestones in order to motivate yourself to get even the most difficult or challenging of project done on time, and to a high quality.
6. Show that you are comfortable being out your comfort zone
As the world of work continues to change and evolve at an unprecedented rate, it’s likely that we’re all going to be working outside of our comfort zones more often.
So, you need to prove that you are able to step beyond the boundaries of your normal day-to-day routine and explore new territory with zeal, confidence and proactivity. An example of which could be learning to use a new piece of technology or tool which you’ve had no prior experience with and then training other members of your team on its use.
7. Ask well-prepared questions to prove your inquisitiveness
Being perceived as a curious and interested candidate in the mind of the interviewer will help them see you as somebody who has an innate mindset of growth. So, ask positive questions of them and the company which you have prepared beforehand. This will demonstrate that you see others as invaluable sources of learning and growth.
For instance, you could ask about the interviewer’s career to date, what they’ve learned and their experience of the workplace culture.
8. The hard work doesn’t just stop once the interview has ended
Those with a growth mindset understand that the interview experience doesn’t stop once you’ve walked out the door. So, be proactive in sending a follow-up email via your recruiter to the interviewer, thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest in the role. This will serve as another example of proactivity and a tendency to go above and beyond.
If you’re faced with rejection, use your growth mindset to help you see this as an opportunity to learn and improve your performance for next time. Above all, don’t give up or feel defeated. This is just another learning experience which can help you develop and grow.
On the flipside, if you’re offered the role, continue to showcase your mindset of growth in the way that you prepare for your first day and how you behave in those first few weeks, months and years.
By Chris Dottie
Chris Dottie is managing director of Hays Spain. A version of this article previously appeared on the Hays Viewpoint blog.