Answering interview questions can be daunting, which is why it’s important to do all necessary preparations. The pressure to impress potential employers while showcasing your skills and qualifications can lead to anxiety and self-doubt.
However, one key soft skill can make you stand out among other candidates—self-awareness. We’re here to help you demonstrate it to potential employers and share some tips on cultivating this valuable skill further.
Self-awareness is the clear perception of oneself and the ability to reflect on personal thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It involves having a conscious knowledge and understanding of your:
According to psychologist Dr. Tasha Eurich, 95% think they are self-aware. However, only 10 to 15% are really self-aware.¹
Internal and External Self-Awareness
Self-awareness can be categorized into two types: internal and external.
Internal self-awareness refers to your understanding of your own values, goals, and emotions. It involves being in tune with your thoughts, feelings, and motivations.
External self-awareness, conversely, pertains to how others perceive you. It involves recognizing the impact of your words and actions on those around you. Both types of self-awareness are crucial in a job interview setting.
Demonstrating Self-Awareness in Job Interviews
If you want to impress potential employers, provide context that showcases your understanding of yourself and your ability to learn and grow. Here are some things to consider:
1. Preparation and Self-Reflection
Preparing beforehand helps you gain a deeper understanding of skills and competency. It will also allow you to effectively communicate your unique strengths and aspirations during the interview.
In addition to self-reflection, research the company thoroughly and the specific role you are applying for. This demonstrates your genuine interest in the organization and allows you to align your skills and experiences with their values and objectives.
2. Identify Personal Values, Passions, and Aspirations
This is a powerful way to showcase your authenticity and motivation during a job interview. If you are an individual with a disability, this step allows you to highlight your unique perspectives and contributions.
You can share your experiences and aspirations related to promoting equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities in the workplace. It demonstrates your commitment to making a positive impact and your alignment with the company’s values.
You also convey a sense of purpose that resonates with employers. Whether it’s a dedication to teamwork, innovation, or social responsibility, connecting your values with the organization’s mission and culture helps create a strong rapport, leaving a lasting impression.
3. Recognize Strengths and Weaknesses
Take the time to reflect on your strengths, showcase them confidently, and highlight the value you can bring to a potential employer. Instead of focusing on your disability, emphasize your skills and why you fit the role well.
Additionally, be honest about areas you need to improve. It shows humility and a willingness to grow. For instance, if you struggle with specific tasks due to a disability, you can mention any accommodation or assistive technology you are using, or you might need to perform your tasks effectively.²
It shows potential employers you are a determined and valuable candidate who is prepared for the role and capable of managing your condition.
4. Share Past Experiences of Self-Reflection and Growth
You can discuss a time when you faced a challenge in a previous role. Explain how you recognized the opportunity for growth and took proactive steps to overcome the obstacle.
This could include seeking additional training, collaborating with colleagues to find innovative solutions, or leveraging reasonable accommodations to enhance your performance.¹
Employers also appreciate candidates who can demonstrate a growth mindset and a willingness to take ownership of their professional development. Showcasing your past experiences conveys your adaptability and commitment to being the best version of yourself in the workplace.
5. Describe Instances of Receiving and Acting Upon Feedback
Share a time when you received feedback on a project or task and how you actively sought to understand it by asking clarifying questions. Discuss how you reflected on the feedback, recognized areas for improvement, and implemented the suggested changes to enhance your performance.
Emphasize the positive outcomes that resulted from your openness to feedback and your willingness to collaborate with others. This demonstrates your humility, receptiveness to constructive criticism, and ability to work effectively in a team.
6. Express Willingness to Learn from Others
You can provide an example of a situation where you actively sought guidance from a mentor or supervisor. Describe how you approached them with a specific challenge or goal, seeking their expertise and insights.
Emphasize how you valued their perspective, incorporated their suggestions into your work, and how it positively impacted your outcomes. Cultivating this mindset helps you grow, contributing to a positive and supportive work environment.
Honing Self-Awareness Skills
Developing self-awareness is an ongoing process that requires dedication and practice. Here are some strategies to refine your self-awareness skills.
1. Seek Feedback and Constructive Criticism
Actively seeking and implementing feedback demonstrates a growth mindset and commitment to continuous improvement. When seeking feedback, approach it with an open mind and a genuine desire to learn and improve. Ask specific questions to gather actionable insights, such as asking:
- What your strengths are in a particular area.
- Which areas or skills you can work on to enhance your performance.
- What your colleagues would have done in the same situation.
Be receptive to both positive feedback and constructive criticism as they highlight areas where you can grow. Feedback is not meant to be a personal attack but a valuable tool to help you reach your full potential.
2. Balance Internal and External Self-Awareness
Consider what truly matters to you in your career and personal life, as it will allow you to align your actions and decisions with your core beliefs and bring a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
You should also seek feedback and insights from trusted individuals who can provide an external perspective. Talk with colleagues, mentors, or coaches who can bridge any gaps between how you perceive yourself and how others see you. They can offer valuable insights into your strengths, oversights, and areas for growth.
Balancing internal and external awareness allows you to cultivate a stronger sense of authenticity, build better relationships, and showcase your self-awareness during job interviews.
3. Practice Introspection Effectively
Instead of fixating on “why” questions that can lead to unproductive speculation, focus on the “what” questions. For example, ask yourself:
- What triggered my reaction to that situation?
- What can I do differently next time to respond more constructively?
- What have I missed in that scenario?
- What can I still contribute at this moment?
This shift in perspective allows you to identify patterns, learn from experiences, and develop strategies to navigate challenges effectively. This enables you to become better equipped to demonstrate self-awareness during job interviews.
Employers value candidates who can analyze their behaviors and emotions, as it shows maturity, adaptability, and a willingness to learn and grow.
DISCOVER MEANINGFUL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES WITH GALT FOUNDATION
At Galt Foundation, we understand the importance of self-awareness and its role in securing successful employment. With over 20 years of experience in staffing for persons with disabilities, we are committed to helping candidates hone their self-awareness skills.
If you’re looking for guidance and support in your job search journey, reach out to us. Our dedicated team is ready to assist you in showcasing your unique talents and finding the perfect opportunity that aligns with your skills and aspirations.
2. “Assistive Devices for People with Hearing, Voice, Speech, or Language Disorders” NIDCD, https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/assistive-devices. 21 Jun. 2023.