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How to show your personality in job interviews

Career Tips

19 January 2023

How to show your personality in job interviews

Feeling confused about the dos and don’ts when being interviewed? Wix recruiters share their own insiders’ tips on speaking about weaknesses and coming across as genuine and sincere

Anthony Rodriguez and Nicole Fernandez from our Miami office know a thing or two about job interviews. After all, talking to candidates and assessing their skills is what they do every day. We’ve asked them for useful, down to earth tips on how to showcase your personality during a job interview and honestly talk about failures, weaknesses and things you’ve learned.

1. Self reflect on failures

We all have them! Choose a genuine time when you faced an obstacle and how you learned from the situation. Some places to start could be thinking about reviews from your manager and how you took the feedback and turned it into action, or a time you disagreed with a co-worker or a boss. Genuine stories are always better than general examples.

Anthony: “From my experience as an interviewer, when I ask candidates about things that they need to work on, or mistakes that they’ve made in the past, many of them say things like ‘I work too hard’, which doesn’t sound honest. I think that when you give a specific example rather than a general statement, it comes across as genuine and honest. It says a lot about a candidate if they can really own what they did, and since owning what you do and allowing failures are parts of Wix’s core values, we are looking for people who can do that”.

Can you give an example?

“Sure. A candidate who was an account manager recently told me a story about how they tried to cut costs for a user and ended up cutting out the features that made that user successful, which eventually made that user cancel his subscription. This candidate told me how they thought that if they had looked at data earlier and done things differently, the user could have stayed with them, and I really liked it because it was honest, because that person took responsibility and because I could tell that they’ve really learned from it”.

2. Define "weaknesses" in your learning

Talk about mistakes you may have made in one of your past few roles. Use it to give context to the obstacles you were facing.

Anthony: “Some candidates will tell you things that they think you want to hear, but I’m impressed with people who tell me about their real weaknesses. Some people told me that they’re pretty introverted and that they may have trouble connecting with internal teams and resources, and that it’s something a manager had already told them and they’re working on it. As an interviewer, hearing something like that makes me feel that this person is giving me an honest answer. It also shows me that they are self aware of what they need to work on. It gives me the opportunity to know that if I hire this person, this is how I can help them, and for me it’s a great thing to know how to manage a person to help them reach their potential".

3. Talk about what you’ve learned

Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s how you grow from them that’s important. Maybe you bounced back and saved the situation after the first mistake, or maybe you used it as data for future performance improvement. For example, speak about how you took feedback and turned it into something positive, or how you used a mistake you made and shared it with others so the team as a whole could learn from it too.

Nicole: “Recently someone told me in an interview that as an account manager he wasn’t proactive and nearly lost an account, but later he made sure to remind himself to periodically check in with different accounts in order to catch things a lot earlier, and then got praise for giving great customer service. As an interviewer it was great listening to this story because it showed me that this person was self aware, owned the fact that he wasn’t great back then, but when he understood it, he took the necessary steps to improve”.

4. Set the tone of the interview from the first greeting with the recruiter!

When smalltalk is happening in the first couple of minutes, this is a great way to show your personality and chat about what you’ve been doing that day / week. Are you training for a 5k run? Did you just walk your dog? Finding early connection points with the interviewer can make the conversation feel more warm and familiar.

Nicole: “If you don’t know anything about your interviewer and you can’t talk a little about something that you both have in common, just bring in something from what interests you from the early get go. It creates more of a relationship and a human conversation from the first minute. Sometimes that connection point ends up being the majority of the interview. At the end of the day I think that people want to hire people that they want to work with. Obviously the interview is important and your skills need to be tested, but if you’re having a fun conversation it’s a lot easier to connect.”

Anthony: “It’s easy to think that an interviewer thinks that a perfect candidate is bubbly, but that’s not always the case. People who set the tone during the interview are those who talk about themselves from a high level and tell their story - how they got to where they are”.

"I remember people who tell me things like ‘I used Wix to create a website for my sister’s baby shower or for my band. Those are little nuggets that are great when you’re talking about why your goal is to work at Wix”

5. You’re not a robot!

In the “Tell me about yourself question” it's okay to talk about yourself personally and professionally! Your hobbies and volunteer work tell just as much of your story as your previous work history.

Anthony: “My advice is not to think about the interview at all at least a couple of hours before the interview. Sometimes people stress themselves out before the interview and then they ruin it. I think that you should get your mind off it. Watch TV, work out, cook. Whatever”.

Nicole: “I would definitely practice the elevator pitch but I think that it’s completely okay to include personal and work related events when you’re crafting your story. I think that things people don’t talk about as much are volunteering experience or side projects. Lots of skills can contribute to what you’ll be doing on the job but it also shows an initiative and other parts of your life that help the interviewer paint a fuller picture of you”.

6. When asked about goals, reflect on what you are looking for in a company and in a position

Anthony: “Many people say that they want to be managers when I ask them about their goals, and I always ask them ‘why?’ because people can be super successful at a company and not manage anyone. When I ask that follow up question I can tell who has put some thought into this and who hasn’t. I’m a lot more impressed by people who tell me that their goal is to run a marathon or to buy their own home because many times personal goals impact your career and great candidates can talk about both and explain how they correlate. That’s a good answer to that question”.

Nicole: “Many people say that they want to work in tech but when you probe a little deeper they don’t really explain why. If you say that you like the start-up mentality because it allows you to look for new projects at work, that’s something that’s tied to things you can do at Wix and it would help demonstrate why you’re interested in this company. Saying something like ‘tech is great and Wix is tech and that’s why I’m excited about it’ won’t be very memorable. I remember people who tell me things like ‘I’ve used to Wix to create a website for my sister’s baby shower or for my band. Those are little nuggets that are great when you’re talking about why your goal is to work at Wix”.

7. If you don't have the answer to a question immediately, take some time to pause

It’s always okay to take a minute, breathe and formulate a thoughtful answer rather than feeling pressure to answer immediately even if something doesn't come to mind.

Nicole: “I think that we’re programmed to feel like we have to answer a question in two seconds, but sometimes you’re not going to get the best response, especially if it’s a question you haven’t prepared for. I remember an interview I did with someone who - I later found out - didn’t feel well. Towards the end of the interview she kind of blurted out an answer that was a sharp contrast from the beginning of the interview. At the end of it she told me that she wasn’t at her best and asked for another chance. We scheduled another talk which was great, and she passed it. The point is that if you feel that you need a minute, especially if you’re on the phone and the interviewer can’t see your face, just address it and say that you need a bit more time”.

“I’d rather have people ask me questions about my personal journey at Wix or about the things that I love about working at Wix over general questions that they get online from some article about preparing for interviews"

8. When thinking about examples for interview questions, make sure to use detailed, concrete examples from your past work history

Citing a specific example is more impactful than giving a general overview of how you would handle a situation.

Nicole: “As a recruiter who interviews many people each day, my tip is ‘give me a story that I have to write down’. If I ask you for a story about a time in which you showed great customer service and you say something very general like ‘my role was customer facing so I’ve helped many customers’, I’m not going to remember that. However, if you tell me a story about a customer who was frustrated about something very specific and how you’ve dealt with it and later received praise about it, I’ll be much more impressed and it’ll be impactful, so make sure your examples are as detailed as possible”.

9. Ask questions you are genuinely interested in

Excitement and passion come across in an interview, so make sure you are diving deeper into the criteria that really matters to you when considering a new role or company.

Anthony: “I’d rather have people ask me questions about my personal journey at Wix or about the things that I love about working at Wix over general questions that they get online from some article about preparing for interviews. You can tell, because when I answer the questions that they find online they don’t ask me any follow up questions, because they’re not that interested in them. They’re going through a checkbox. I rather have people saying that if they’ll think of something they’ll email it to me later”.

Take time to think about these tips, gather a few personal and specific examples to bring up during the interview, check our tips on standing out with a proactive approach during your job search, and most importantly - calm down and be yourself. Good luck!

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