The Top 5 Qualities Job Candidates Possess
In today’s disruptive world, companies can live or die by the user experience they offer their customers. Provide a sleek and seamless experience for your audience, and they’re more likely to stick with you. Lag behind what established and emerging competitors offer, and you will be playing catch-up – and catching up in today’s fast-moving world can often be impossible.
Success, in user experience design, as well as in other industries, rests on the continuous contributions of a dedicated and diverse team. As such, recruiting the right people is key. Here are the top five qualities in a candidate:
- Intellectual curiosity is often what sets a great team member apart from a good one. Those who have great passions outside of their work – in addition to the passion they have for their job – often bring a greater diversity of ideas and talent. Not only that, but those who take the time to pursue extracurricular hobbies expand their knowledge and skill set in ways that can’t be achieved in the office. For example, one of my team members is an avid photographer. He brings his photographic composition and storytelling abilities to work, applying his photography skills to his interaction design thinking. This extra edge in his ability clearly comes through in his work.
- Flexibility is crucial. Designing and creating products tailored to customer needs is not a linear process; it has many twists and turns. How a person tackles a project can reveal more about who he or she is as a teammate and employee than the final product itself. In your job interview, explain how you handled roadblocks that got in your way, how you picked up the pieces when someone else dropped them, and what you did when the creativity stopped flowing. Your answers to these and similar questions will show a potential employer if you are flexible and can handle the pressure that comes with client service and teamwork. In addition, arrange your portfolio as a series of case studies so that the interviewer can see the steps you took to achieve the result, and whether or not you had to change course when something unexpected came up. Ultimately, your portfolio is your true calling card. It must tell your story and show the different journeys that led you to the ultimate design solution you are presenting to secure a new professional opportunity.
- Humor is seriously important. In a team-oriented, high-pressure environment such as digital design, grace under pressure and the ability to laugh through tough situations are crucial for success. There are so many reasons why tension can surface at any given moment, and the ability to navigate these challenges with a laugh and a smile without crumbling can make or break a project with a tight deadline. A silly, unrelated joke or self-deprecating comment can often relieve the tension before a big meeting, or perk up the mood of a team working against a tight deadline. This tactic often helps people open themselves up to (what turns out to be) a productive conversation and continued collaboration.
- Humility may be the most difficult of these five qualities to acquire and develop, but it is extremely important for professional and personal development. You cannot create in isolation, so the ability to take feedback well and use it to grow is crucial–especially in team-oriented workplaces. You should also actively seek out productive and honest discussions with peers, superiors, and subordinates– this genuine interest in self-improvement will be appreciated by all.
- Purpose is an increasingly important component of the workplace these days. Every company needs to know its “why,” and every employee who works there should feel connected to that purpose. But more important than the purpose of the organization you work for is your own personal purpose. What drives you? What lasting mark are you looking to make? The answers to these questions will help you determine if you will naturally find your place in the organization, and if you can plug into its purpose with meaning. It is also crucial that your purpose is evident during job interviews. Highlight the anecdotes that illustrate your “why,” and share them with your interviewers. Even better, highlight how your drive aligns with the organization’s purpose; this will show how your personal and professional purposes connect with what the organization is trying to accomplish. What might set you apart from someone else with similar qualifications could be your desire to achieve your purpose – and your passion to help the company live up to its own.
As you progress in your personal and professional development, keep in mind that these five qualities are very much intertwined. Together, the traits you acquire and the experiences you gain create the story of you – and that story is your most powerful attribute of all.8