By Essie Bester
A growth mindset is of critical importance in today’s world of work. Employers are beginning to realise more and more that – without the necessary wherewithal to innovate and move forward – employees with a fixed or narrow-minded way of thinking can increase a business’s risk of stagnating.
Ways of demonstrating a growth mindset to your interviewer
- Prepare well for the interview
Show that you have the growth mindset the employer is looking for by researching the relevant business as thoroughly as possible beforehand. Regard this as a project in itself and be thorough. Do a complete investigation of the company, your interviewer, recent news from the industry and/or new product launches. In this way you show your interviewer that you are proactive and ready and that you jump at challenges (for instance, arriving fully prepared at the interview).
- Demonstrate your strong problem-solving skills
People with a growth mindset do not shy away when confronted by problems, but take action. They are not scared of making mistakes and do not allow negative thoughts to take over and influence their self-confidence or approach to the solution of a given problem. They firmly believe in their ability to solve the problem, even if it lies in an area they do not know.
Before the interview think back to a time when you had to solve a problem outside of your comfort zone. During the interview discuss how you approached the problem. Explain how you were proactive in handling all obstacles in the process and what you learned during the process. Don’t worry if you could not solve the problem. What the interviewer will remember is the fact that you have a proactive approach to problem-solving and that you are not afraid to confront a problem.
- Emphasise your commitment to continuous upskilling and lifelong learning
People with a growth mindset love to learn, not only in those areas they feel most comfortable in or even in which they are naturally interested, but in a wide range of topics. They focus on self-improvement – therefore habits such as reading, listening to podcasts, working towards qualifications or attending industry events are all things they regard as a matter of course.
People with a growth mindset understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good education and perseverance. During your interview you must weave into your answers the acquisition of new skills or attending training courses. Also ask about the company’s commitment to supporting a growth mindset and development among their workers.
- Admit to your failures and explain what you have learned from them
People with a growth mindset understand that failure is an important aspect of learning and growing. They therefore don’t see it as a hindrance but rather as an opportunity to further develop their skills. Therefore, do not shy away when you are asked to talk about an occasion when you failed.
So, before the interview, plan which failure you want to talk about. Do it without making excuses or blaming others. Explain how it happened, what you learned from it and what you will do differently in future.
- Explain how you set goals for yourself and motivate yourself to reach them
A common tactic is to break down each project into manageable and realistic tasks or goals and then to use each one’s completion as a motivator. Explain how you follow the same tactic.
- Show that you feel comfortable out of your comfort zone
The world of work is changing and developing at ans unstoppable pace and it is more than likely that all of us are going to have to work outside our comfort zones more often.
Prove that you are willing to venture outside the boundaries of your normal daily routine and that you are capable of exploring new areas with diligence, confidence and proactivity by, for instance, telling about new technology or an instrument that you have learned to use. Make sure that you can tell how you trained other members of your team how to use it. This will show your interviewer that you believe in yourself and in your ability to work outside your comfort zone.
- Use well-prepared questions to show your natural inquisitiveness
If the interviewer sees you as an inquisitive and interested candidate it will also help him or her to see you as a person with an inbred growth mindset. Asking well-prepared questions about the employers and the business will prove that you see others as sources of learning and growth. Ask about issues such as the following:
Is there scope for career progression?
What does a typical day look like?
Can you tell me more about my team?
Who are the main stakeholders?
How does the team fit into the overall structure of the business?
What is your background?
How do you experience working here from your perspective?
What are the most important challenges and opportunities facing the business?
How long do employees usually stay with the company?
Learning and development
How often will my performance be assessed?
What training opportunities are there?
- Follow up
Be proactive by following up with an email to the interviewer in which you thank him or her for his or her time. Repeat your interest in the role. This will serve as an example of your willingness to walk the extra mile.
If you are offered the position you must keep on showing your growth mindset by the way you prepare for your first day and how you act during the first few weeks and months.