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The Key to Interview Success Might Be Self-Awareness and Here’s Why 

March 13, 2024

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The Key to Interview Success Might Be Self-Awareness and Here's Why 

Job seeking can prove to be a notably arduous and stressful process. Studies show that only 20 percent of candidates who apply for a job get contacted for an interview, and only 20 to 30 percent of individuals who are interviewed actually get hired.¹ Qualities that define an ideal candidate differs from recruiter to recruiter, and if you have been getting a great deal of rejection letters, it might be harder to put a finger on what you’re doing wrong. However, former Google executive and corporate officer at Stripe, Claire Hughes Johnson has revealed that self-awareness in job interviews just might be more important than we think it is. 

The Power of Self-Awareness 

During her tenure as Vice President of Google and Self-Driving Cars, Claire Hughes Johnson spent numerous hours conducting job interviews, and she remarks that the one trait that helped her sort through desirable and undesirable candidates was self-awareness. Self-awareness describes one’s ability to perceive and accurately interpret one’s own thoughts, feelings, motives and actions. It is a form of self-knowledge, monitoring your internal state and clearly defining your desires, your actions, and what effect this has on the people around you. 

When considered closely, Hughes’ criterion is set with good reason. Research has shown a strong correlation between self-awareness and things like better decision-making and communication skills. Employees who are self-aware are better workers and are more likely to get promoted, and they are also less likely to engage in unethical behavior and build better work relationships with their peers.²  

Self-awareness simply means understanding yourself and understanding how other people perceive you, in order to effect higher levels of personal and social control. This has remarkable varied applications in the workplace. For example, a self-aware individual who tilts towards extroversion may notice they’re outshining a quieter co-worker and choose to cede the spotlight to them. A self-aware employee who understands their propensity to become non-verbal when they’re nervous may take additional steps to calm themselves before a big business meeting. 

Practicing Self-Awareness for Self-Improvement 

Being self-aware turns you into a great self-manager, achieving maximum results with you as a resource, regardless of your strengths or weaknesses. Here are some important personal applications for self-awareness. 

Building Strong Empathy 

Self-awareness gives you a deeper understanding of your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Because you’re so attuned to your internal environment, it’s easier to imagine what is happening in another’s, and draw parallels between their experiences and yours. This allows you to empathize with them on a deeper level. 

Improved Stress Management 

Stress in the workplace is ultimately inevitable, with even the World Health Organization classifying a popular symptom of stress, burnout, as an occupational hazard.³ Unfortunately, a remarkable number of Americans handle stress poorly—approximately four in ten Americans overeat when stressed, while 39 percent drink alcohol to cope with their stress.⁴ These coping mechanisms are unhealthy and could lead to health problems in the future.  

Self-awareness, on the other hand, helps you recognize and cope with your stress. Being in tune with your internal state also means that you’re aware of your stressors and your stress limits. This can help you identify a potentially stressful situation, and you can either take steps to mitigate it, or quickly employ a coping mechanism to maintain a calm and collected attitude throughout the situation.  

Effective Time Management 

Self-awareness helps you develop a strong sense of time management. When you’re aware of your strengths, weaknesses and priorities, you can divide your time by prioritizing tasks. Additionally, self-aware individuals can quickly notice when they’re distracted or procrastinating, identify the reasons for it, and address them promptly. 

Stronger Self-Control 

Self-awareness is a key factor for maintaining self-control. Individuals who are highly self-aware are not only conscious of the effects of their actions on other people, but are also highly accountable to themselves, and thus are more likely to direct their behavior in less abrasive trajectories. Moreover, self-aware individuals also maintain a strong sense of their internal framework of values and belief systems and are more likely to align their actions with these value systems, leading to better self-control. 

Boosted Productivity 

When you combine effective time management, improved stress management, and stronger self-control, you get boosted productivity! Self-awareness not only aids you in noticing your productivity cycles, which are periods when you’re more productive versus periods when you’re not, but also helps you recognize and eliminate distractions. Altogether, self-awareness helps improve the quality of your life and, by extension, the quality of your work. 

Leveraging Self-Awareness for Career Growth 

Self-awareness is useful for not just personal improvement, but career development as well. Armed with the knowledge of your strengths, weaknesses, and career goals, working excellently becomes much easier. Here are some benefits of self-awareness in growing your career. 

Career Clarity 

Studies show that only 20 percent of the American workforce is passionate about their jobs, and less than half of American workers are satisfied with their jobs.⁵ Understanding yourself also means understanding what you’re passionate about, and what kind of work makes you tick. Being self-aware makes you less likely to be stuck working a dead-end job in a field you don’t like, and helps you increase your job satisfaction. 

Enhanced Leadership 

Self-aware individuals often make better leaders, as they can empathize well with their subordinates, are sensitive to the needs of their colleagues, and can generally read the tone of the team much better than an individual who lacks self-awareness can. More importantly, self-aware leaders are less likely to be egotistical, power drunk or tyrannical, as they know how their actions impact others. 

Effective Communication 

Self-awareness greatly improves the quality and effectiveness of conversation between colleagues. Understanding yourself gives you a good grasp of your communication style and enables you to tweak it as may be necessary, depending on who you’re speaking with, for more effective communication. Along with that, self-awareness makes you a better listener, which helps reduce the incidence of miscommunication. 

Improved Decision-Making 

Self-awareness helps you recognize your personal biases and prejudices, so you can act objectively and make better decisions. Also, self-aware leaders can better anticipate the outcomes of their decisions and accurately weigh their advantages and disadvantages. 

Refined Conflict Resolution 

Self-awareness is much needed in conflict resolution, especially as a leader or manager. It allows you to objectively state what actions taken by other parties may have aggravated the situation without necessarily attacking their character. It also allows you to accept responsibility for your part in the conflict without shifting blame to your colleagues. In doing so, conflicts are resolved in a safe and mature environment. 

Tips for Developing Self-Awareness 

Some people are born with a natural talent for self-awareness, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have it too! Like mastering any skill, self-awareness can be developed and refined over time. Here are three things you can do to help improve it. 

1. Ask for Feedback 

This is possibly the greatest tip for developing a sense of self-awareness. Requesting feedback from your colleagues, friends, and family gives you a 360-degree, bird’s eye view on your behavior. It gives you valuable insight into how your actions truly affect others, and you can match up their perception of you with your own perception of yourself, see where there are similarities or differences, and make changes as needed. 

2. Reflect on Interactions 

Another helpful tip is to practice introspection. Reflect upon your daily interactions with people and think about how your words and actions may have affected them positively or negatively. Could your curt greeting to your co-worker have been warmer? Maybe you could have rephrased your harsh critique to your teammates when commenting on their organizational skills. Think over your encounters with others and analyze them objectively. 

3. Seek Mentorship 

It’s always a good idea to seek help. If you feel like you might be struggling with grasping self-awareness, you can seek the advice of people whose insight you consider valuable. 

UNLOCK YOUR CAREER POTENTIAL WITH SPECTRA360 

At Spectra360, we specialize in connecting candidates with top tier opportunities in warehousing, manufacturing, transportation, administrative, logistics and much more. If you understand your strengths, can pinpoint your weaknesses, and are ready to leverage your unique qualities in a dynamic work environment, we’re looking for you! 

Our approach is tailored to highlight your self-awareness as a key asset in finding the perfect job match. With Spectra360, you’re not just another candidate-you’re a valued team member poised for growth and success in an industry that thrives on innovation and dedication. 

Embark on a journey to career excellence by contacting us today. Your path to a more rewarding job starts here. 

References 

1 Elsie Boskamp, “40 Important Job Interview Statistics [2023]: How Many Interviews Before Job Offer.”Zippia, 21 June 2023, www.zippia.com/advice/job-interview-statistics/#:~:text=Generally%20speaking%2C%20those%20who%20apply,to%20receive%20a%20job%20offer

2 Tasha Eurich, “What Self-Awareness Really Is (and How to Cultivate It).” Harvard Business Review, 4 January 2018, hbr.org/2018/01/what-self-awareness-really-is-and-how-to-cultivate-it

3 Ashley Turner, “The World Health Organization Officially Recognizes Workplace Burnout as an Occupational Phenomenon.”, CNBC, 28 May 2019, www.cnbc.com/2019/05/28/who-recognizes-workplace-burnout-as-an-occupational-phenomenon.html

4 “Stress a Major Health Problem in the U.S, Warns APA.” American Psychological Association, Accessed 15 February 2024, www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2007/10/stress

5 Jack Flynn, “43 Incredible Job Satisfaction Statistics [2023]: Average Job Satisfaction in the U.S”, Zippia, 19 June 2023, www.zippia.com/advice/job-satisfaction-statistics/

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