Sweaty palms.

Racing heart.

Nervous fidgeting.

Questioning yourself.

Hope and uncertainty transforming into a toxic elixir, preventing your true self from escaping.

No this isn’t the description of a first date gone bad. In fact, in many ways, it’s explaining

something much worse. This intro describes how an interviewee feels when he or she is knee-deep in wanting and worried.

For many, as the desire for something increases, so, too, does worry and stress. This may be a surprise for the naturally calm, ‘whatever is meant to be is meant to be’ people, but truth is many would rather undergo a root canal without anesthesia or numbing medicine than sit in front of an interviewer. The delicate tightrope between humbleness and conceitedness can be incredibly stressful to navigate when a job, and in some cases a dream, is on the line.

To lighten the stress of interviewing, connecteam released a list of 25 qualities employees hold dear and that are key to exude when interviewing. Connecteam lists them as follows:

1. Team player

2. A good communicator

3. Speak up at meetings

4. They collaborate

5. They dress for success

6. They have a “take charge” attitude

7. They want leadership opportunities

8. They’re on time

9. They think like a manager, not an employee

10. Think about results

11. Don’t compare yourself to others

12. Detail-oriented

13. Follow trends

14. They listen to feedback

15. They avoid gossip

16. Know how to play the game

17. Want to learn

18. Go to company events

19. They are comfortable with pressure

20. They ask for help

21. They’re adaptable

22. They’re honest

23. They’re optimistic

24. They’re humble

25. Are tech-savvy

Notice that degrees and credentials didn’t make the list.

It’s not that degrees, certifications, and advanced education aren’t important. In some cases, like nursing and teaching, a specific degree is required before you can even interview for a job. This isn’t an argument in the value of advanced education because I think most would agree that advanced education, whether that’s within the skilled trades and/or college arenas, is exponentially important when trying to stand out among a sea of fellow applicants. What the connecteam list does suggest, however, is that employers are less interested in whether a potential employee has skills that can be taught and are more interested in the inner makings of the individual, which is something less likely to massively change in the short-term.

Michael Jordan, a six-time NBA champion and MVP with the Chicago Bulls, once said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Jordan makes a point that every person should carry with them into an interview. It’s not the list of accolades and credentials alone that make a prospective employee move to the top of their employer’s make-an-offer list. Instead, it’s the potential employees’ desire to succeed and their understanding of the work and courage it takes to make themselves an integral part of a successful team… it’s understanding that who you are, as an employee and human being, is often best demonstrated in times of struggles, not success.

Interviewing can be nerve-wracking, especially when the opportunity you’re interviewing for is a step forward on your path toward your most fulfilling life. But shoulders back and chin up. Show the interviewer that any skill you lack and they need, you’ll work hard to obtain. Show the interviewer that your ability to do all the things for which there aren’t credentials, such as the ones connecteam deemed most desirable, puts you ahead of the interviewing pack.

Successful teams will often say that their success is a direct result of everyone on the team understanding they’re an irreplaceable part of the team’s success. Show interviewers that whether you’re working with the janitor, assembly line worker, cafeteria employee, quality control technician, or CEO that you see, understand, and value each and everyone’s contribution. Top that humble pie with some ambitious a la mode and make what you bring to the table something interviewers find impossible to resist.

Author: Evelyn Lindell