Career Tip of the Month

What Kind of Employee Are You?

If you're a new grad, the question might be, "What kind of employee will you be?" Taking the time to evaluate yourself as a worker can help you better prepare for, and nail, the interview.

All of us bring unique strengths and personality styles to the workplace. What kind of person and worker are you? What are your key skills? What is your attitude? Your reliability? In what kind of role and work setting will you be best equipped to succeed? How do other people see you?

It takes all kinds of employees for a company to run effectively. Each position in a company will require someone with a particular skill set and personality type to operate effectively. The challenge for employers is to hire the best possible combination of a candidate's skill set and personality not only in terms of the position, but in terms of the overall fit for the company.

Begin by asking yourself the following seven questions. For those of you who have limited work experience, reflect on how you operate in the classroom, in clinicals or practicums, and in volunteer organizations or on committees:

1. Are you looking for a job just to pay the bills, a short-term or part-time opportunity, or is this the first step towards a longer career path?

2. Are you a take-charge leader, a loyal contributor, or someone who does what is needed to get the job done?

3. Can you identify problems, solve problems, or would you rather avoid problems?

4. Are you someone who will take reasonable risks to get things done, or would you prefer to follow a set of established standards?

5. Are you quiet and serious, or are you spontaneous and thrive on multi-tasking?

6. Do you do your best work independently, as part of a team, or in a combination of environments?

7. Are you able to adapt to new conditions quickly, or do you prefer workplace predictability and stability?

Now let's apply the answers to the above seven questions to the interview process. Prepare short stories (examples) for an upcoming interview that will illustrate your relevant skills and personality traits (also known as soft skills) for the position.

How do you know what skills and personality traits will be relevant, or desired, by a future employer? By researching the company before the interview. Prior research will allow you to formulate stories that will relate your personality and successes to the role and responsibilities of your future position. Your stories must be relevant and appropriate to the position and the company culture. Suppose that you are interviewing for a position where proper procedures are honored and expected. If your stories and examples demonstrate too much innovation and "out of the box" thinking, your strategy will backfire. So before your interview, figure out which kind of stories will be most well received, and focus on telling them.

If you can anticipate your interviewer's most likely concerns and address them in the course of your interview, you'll be ahead of the game. For example, any employer in a service-related industry (think hospitality, health care, business) will most likely want to know how you how you will handle angry or unhappy customers, how you can apply what you?ve learned in school to the daily demands on the job, and your overall work ethic.

The key is to understand yourself and your work behavior, apply to the appropriate positions, and strategize about how to tell the right stories. When you can do that, you will be well on your way toward successfully finding a new job that will provide personal and professional satisfaction.