Demonstrate Empathy When Interviewing

The experience you create with everyone involved in your transition impacts how people perceive you and your professional capabilities. Do you value everyone you meet during the screening, interview and hiring process? Do you value everyone you interact with no matter the person’s role or level of hierarchical authority? Employers often observe how you connect with those who are not directly involved in the hiring process. Your ability to build rapport with all people is a critical component of professionalism for many decision-makers.

Are you a genuine listener? People who share real listening skills tend to also possess heightened levels of self-awareness, empathy, and emotional intelligence. Interviewers often ask ambiguous questions to assess a candidate’s ability to fully listen, engage, ask clarifying questions, and reflect before responding. Observing and demonstrating your willingness to seek a fuller understanding signals empathy, accountability, and responsiveness.

Consider how you support team members struggling with their level of engagement. Do you remain curious to understand, ask about what may be going on for them, and listen without reactive judgments? Or are you quick to move on, complain to a supervisor (yours or theirs), or simply right them off? Consider how you can add value to the situation? Consider ways you will communicate encouragement for your colleague or client to support their ability to seek needed support without breaking confidence or sparking drama.

Think about someone you admire for their qualities of leadership empathy. Be ready to describe how this person has impacted productivity, collaboration, and trust. Weave these experiences into your interview responses, especially if a question does not come up that directly asks you about someone you respect professionally or why you admire them.

Be prepared to respond to questions about how you interact with clients or colleagues if they share a personal challenge or issue. Your ability to demonstrate leadership is key. Respond in ways that will shed light on your ability to actively listen, make a human connection, provide genuine compassion, and when appropriate or necessary ask if they need further support and direction. 

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