At some point in your life you will be in a job interview – it is a fact of life, like death and taxes. Acing the interview is what everyone wants to be able to do. From friends and family to candidates that I have worked with over my career, that is one of the most asked questions – what should I do, say, and ask in an interview?
Here at V-Soft we do candidate prep sessions to make sure the candidate is prepared for the interview and has done his homework and is less anxious going in. The commonality in all of this is the interview can be very nerve-wracking, because what is on the line is a job you want – or you wouldn’t be there to begin with.
Hard Workers Don't Always Finish First
One of the aspects of having success in the interview is something that most people probably have never thought about. In a study by Chia-Jung Tsay, he recognized that hiring managers choose natural ability over people that work hard. With that are many implications, first and foremost is this – are there natural talents, skills, and abilities that are an innate part of who you are that will give you success in the role you are interviewing for? If not, and you are just a hard worker who strives to perform and is even successful, per the study, you are at a disadvantage.
Even if two candidates have the same experience and have achieved the same level of career success, you are more likely to be passed over as opposed to the person that has natural ability for the role. To compound this even further, the three studies that were done show that people tend to pass over better-qualified individuals in favor of the naturals.
Of course, this begs the question – so what do I do with this information?
Natural Talent Isn't Everything
First, let me say this – never underestimate the power of a strong work ethic and its need within any organization. Even if you bring a lot of natural talent to the table but do not have a strong work ethic you may land the job, but your odds of keeping the job diminish tremendously. Working hard and striving to be the best for some people is a natural ability – think Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant. There is a natural drive and determination that is an innate part of who they are. You couple that with their other natural competencies for basketball and athletics and you have the makings of champions. A top performer in any industry needs to have a combination of earned skills and natural abilities that point to success.
In thinking through this, the naturals probably have a quality that in the interview comes across as inspirational to some degree. In the sense that they have that innate motivation and skills to do the job which when you take culture fit into the equation as well the hiring manger probably feels that he “clicks” better with the natural. So, what you shouldn’t do as a natural is downplay education and/or experience, as those were not deciding factors for winning the interview.
If you are someone that seems to just be a hard worker and you don’t feel that you have any natural competencies for the job you are interviewing for, I would encourage you to reevaluate the role and yourself as you may have more natural ability than you think. Being self-aware in an interview is probably the single most important key to landing the job.
About the Author
Nick is the Executive Vice President of Sales for V-Soft Consulting. He has over 25 years of experience in the employment services industry and specializes in change management and driving operational efficiencies.
Nick is an expert on the changing world of work and a consultant to many companies in helping them prepare for coming changes. Nick is also a self-proclaimed expert barbecue smoker, so be sure to ask him about his latest experiment. Connect with Nick on LinkedIn today.