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I was a vice president at Google for 10 years. This is the number one skill I look for in job interviews – few people have it

I was a vice president at Google for 10 years.  This is the number one skill I look for in job interviews – few people have it

During my ten years in Google as VPThere were weeks where I would spend up to 40 hours doing job interviews. To make things easier, I’ve always had one skill I’ve looked for in candidates above all else: self-awareness.

Sure, your experience and skills are important, but they can be learned. And when someone is super self-aware, they are More motivated to learn Because they are honest about what they need to work on. them too You relate better to their colleagues and managers.

Plus it’s a rare trait: Research has shown that although 95% of people believe they are self-aware, only 10-15% actually know it.

I’m always watching for two words: Too much “me” is a red flag that may not be being humble or cooperative; Too many “we” may obscure the role they played in the situation. There must be a balance.

I usually learn something revealing when I ask about their specific role. An affirmative answer would be: “It was my idea, but the credit goes to the whole team.”

I also ask how their colleagues describe them. If they only say good things, I will investigate the constructive feedback they receive.

Then I will say, “And what have you done to improve?” To check their orientation towards learning and self-improvement, and to see if they have taken these notes into account.

If you are not self-aware, how will you know? Here are some telltale signs:

  • You constantly get comments that you don’t agree with. This does not mean that the comments are true, but it does mean that the way others view you is different from the way you view yourself.
  • You often feel frustrated and upset because you don’t agree with your team’s direction or decisions.
  • You feel exhausted at the end of the workday and you can’t pinpoint why.
  • You can’t describe the kinds of work you do that you don’t enjoy.
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Becoming more self-aware is about understanding why you work the way you do, and what you can contribute to your team:

1. Understand your values.

Knowing what is important to you, what gives you energy, and what dulls it will help you understand how you work.

By using these ideas, you will be able to articulate and understand your values ​​when they conflict with each other or with someone else’s.

2. Determine your work style.

Spend a few weeks jotting down the moments when you feel like you are reaching new heights in your business or hitting new lows. You will start to see patterns.

If you’re having trouble trusting your instincts, ask someone whose judgment you respect: “When have you seen me do my best and worst?”

3. Analyze your skills and abilities.

Within the framework of the interview, you must be able to talk confidently about your strengths and weaknesses.

To get a more tactical sense of self-awareness, ask yourself two questions:

  • What can you do well? What skills do you have and which do you need to build on?
  • What are your capabilities? What are you naturally good at, and what abilities have you acquired over time?

Eric Yuan, founder and CEO of Zoom, has another great exercise, devoting 15 minutes of mindfulness to meditation.

“I ask myself: If I start over today, what could I do differently? Did I make any mistakes? Could I get better tomorrow? And sometimes I write something important,” he says. “But most of the time, thinking is enough.”

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Claire Hughes Johnson is a consultant to tapeauthor “Sizing people up,” and lecturer in Take risks. Nothing can replace experience. Previously Chief Operating Officer of Stripe, she spent 10 years at Google, where she oversaw aspects of Gmail, Google Apps, and consumer operations. Claire also serves as a trustee and current chair of the board Milton Academy. follow her Twitter.

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