How Does Behaviour and Attitude Affect Your Job Prospects?

By: Together Abroad 04-02-2019 1:12 PM
Categories: * Daily employment news, * Job Interview ,

It has been a while since my last job interview, so last June, I was a bit nervous when I received an invitation to give a short presentation to my potential new managers. For me, the difficulty is not so much as to what to say—that part I can thoroughly research and rewrite (I use the STAR method). The part I find most nerve-wracking is adapting my attitude and behaviour within the first moments of the interview itself.

Personality Traits

Up to a certain point, attitude and behaviour can be prepared. There are some do’s and don’ts that one is advised to heed. I know my traits and I can give examples when necessary, but what kind of candidate the employer is looking for is not always an exact science. One of the most often heard rejections is ‘you are not the right fit for the organization.’

Still, as the interviewee, there are ways to gain some control in this. Collecting information on the personality traits the company is looking for in a candidate could be one of the actions to undertake before applying for a job. For example, I called the contact person for a job vacancy and inquired after the personality traits they were looking for in candidates. I wrote them down and let them sink in after the call.

The Right Trait

Beside hard skills, employers also look for soft skills. Soft skills that are often listed in vacancies are, among others: a team player, flexibility, effective communication, and resourcefulness.

With a bit of creativeness, everyone can claim they possess the sought-after skills. It is therefore important to inquire what the employer is looking for when they ask for a certain skill. For example, flexibility. What does the employer have in mind when they ask for this skill? Are they looking for someone who is flexible in working overtime? Or are they looking for someone who is flexible when it comes down to doing tasks that are not part of their job?

As a candidate, it is essential to verify the employer’s expectations of ‘being flexible’ before claiming the skill. After determining what the employer is looking for, it becomes a lot easier to think of an example that shows you possess the trait.

The only trait that will always work best during an interview is honesty. Trying to be someone you are not, will not last long. There is no point in selling what they wish to hear if you cannot deliver.

Attitude and Behaviour

Presenting my traits during an interview is still something I can prepare. What I cannot prepare and will have to adjust as soon as an interview is starting is my attitude. In particular, my body language and my style of communicating.

Body language enforces what you are saying and can also undermine your point. For example, saying you are enthusiastic while sitting rigidly upright on the edge of your chair or slumped down does not support it at all. The non-verbal communication ought to match the verbal one.


Pay attention to the attitude and behaviour of the other involved parties; this is a valuable source to know how you are doing. When interviewers become restless or look at their watch, it may be a signal they are losing interest in what you are saying. Are they nodding to what you are saying? Then most likely your view is corresponding to their view. Frowning could imply they have lost your train of thought, and clarifications might be necessary.

To avoid assumptions, it is best to verify your feeling by asking questions, after all, nodding does not necessarily imply they are agreeing with what they are hearing. When the other party is looking at their watch, it is best to round up and ask if further details are desired.

Communication Styles

Everyone has his or her style of communicating, which roughly can be classified in one of the four major communication styles. Many websites are using different terminology; I prefer the terms used by DiSC: dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness.

People who tend to communicate mainly in style D (dominance) are often driven by success and competition and tend to take control over situations. However, they may come across as direct and impatient, especially when the other party communicates mainly in style S (steadiness). Style S avoid confrontations and do not respond well to people who are being overly aggressive or rude.

Recognizing the style of the other party can help you during an interview or meeting. You cannot change your style, but by being aware of the other person’s style and adapting your own, the conversation will go much smoother.

In the end, my own interview took on a completely different take. What threw me off, was the behaviour of the other party. I have never been in an interview where the interviewer was slumped forward resting his head on his hand, talking about his own job-hunting experience. It turned out that it was more a meeting to determine if I was still up for the position rather than to get to know me. All my careful preparation went out the window, after 15 minutes I was shaking hands with my new team members.

To improve your prospects, try this job interview training.

Written by Cecile Koster forTogether Abroad

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