Woman Looking At Self Reflection In MirroYou know how it feels when you land an interview for a job you really want. You’ve got butterflies in your stomach, you maybe didn’t sleep much the night before, but you know adrenaline will get you through the day.

Now picture getting into the room where you’re waiting with a few other candidates.

They’re all great ‘on paper’ candidates, like yourself: similar levels of experience to you, same background, all graduates of good schools. It’s going to be a tough contest.

But what if you turned up armed with a little something they didn’t: self awareness.

How to Cultivate Self Awareness?

Marc Deboer started his company, A Better Interview, after he interviewed a candidate who would of been perfect for a job, except he completely lacked self-awareness. Inthe interview, Marc asked him if he’d ever spent any time reflecting on himself, his beliefs and values. His answer, “No, I don’t believe in that!” was the catalyst for Marc to set up a firm which helps candidates come better prepared for interviews.

Seeking professional help, in any form—whether therapy, yoga, or life coaching (just a few of the ways you can get support while exploring this)—isn’t essential, however. You can start simply by asking the right questions, such as:

  • What do I really enjoy doing (for work / career / within the jobs I’ve done in the past)?
  • What are my strengths?
  • And be brutally honest about this: What are my weaknesses?
  • What do I want to get better at?
  • What would I rather let others be good at?

Finding what’s right for us, learning what we need to do—where to live, what to do for a career, who to let into our lives and hearts—to be happy is both that simple and that difficult.

How “Self Awareness” Benefits The Workplace

Self awareness has been described as a way to unlock our “built-in competitive advantage,” while improving the quality of work, employee loyalty and engagement rates. Employees who have taken time to explore this will be better equipped to find an employer which aligns with their personal values. At the same time, an employer that invests in employees’ self-awareness, through career and life coaching, or paying for behavioral assessments and mindfulness coaching, will see an upsurge in productivity and engagement.

Those in leadership positions are much better at their jobs when they are more self-aware. The angry, dismissive, pain in the a— boss, usually lacks self-awareness. They normally lose staff quickly, endangering businesses and investor value.

Whereas the charismatic, engaged, caring—the Richard Branson’s of the business world—not only are inspiring leaders and great bosses, but consistently increase the value of companies.

A 2010 study by Green Peak Partners and Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations of 72 executives in firms with revenues between $50 million and $5 billion found that, “a high self-awareness score was the strongest predictor of overall success. This is not altogether surprising as executives who are aware of their weaknesses are often better able to hire subordinates who perform well in categories in which the leader lacks acumen. These leaders are also more able to entertain the idea that someone on their team may have an idea that is even better than their own.”

The study concludes that this “soft value drive[s] hard results.”

How Self Awareness Will Help In An Interviews

When applying for your next job, think about the answers to questions listed earlier. Then ask yourself whether this role make you happy. Do your values seem to match up with that of the companies? Plum will soon be launching a free online test, which is designed to help get you closer to the answers, so that in your next interview you’re better prepared than everyone else in the room.



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