Using DISC to Help Land that First Job

How can DISC help young professionals turn a job interview into a job offer?

I remember my first job was working in fast food; pretty common for a 15 year old's first shot at a paycheck, right? I'm pretty sure I got the job just by showing up for the interview; cheap labor is cheap labor! There may have been a resume, although, it would've been sparse in content. I do remember my interviewer just happened to be my high school volleyball team's assistant coach. It definitely made the process less stressful, but not everyone is that lucky. Interviews are often stressful.

Hopefully, we already know to be on time, dress appropriately, come with questions, etc. but what more can we do to prepare? Many of us just starting out, don't usually have the skills or experience, much less practice with job interviews. So, how do we help our younger generation get off to a stronger start in the interview process and in their careers?

Interviews are pressure situations

Businesswoman smiling at the camera during a presentation

It's a high-pressure situation where you have a limited amount of time to highlight your strengths and qualifications. Under pressure, we often don't have the same ability to adjust as effectively as we'd like to. We're so caught up in the pressure that we may not have the focus and energy to modify our style.

In these such situations we may end up relying too much on our natural strengths. We may end up overusing our strengths to the point they've become our liability. For example, I-styles are more comfortable chatting, but what happens when they end up chatting too much and lose track of the task or goal at hand? It can result in a disastrous interview.

How DISC can help

Young pretty woman and the beginning of her job interviewDISC can help our newest workforce generation gain a competitive advantage to landing that first job with increased self-awareness and a better understanding of others. The Extended DISC® Assessment can help identify our blind spots; the gap between how others see us and how we see ourselves. For example, you may see yourself as warm and friendly, but others may see you as overly emotional and not focused on the task at hand. Our Extended DISC® Assessment results provide us with a clear road map of the behaviors that are comfortable for us and the ones we may need to consciously modify to achieve better outcomes.

It can also help you to match up to jobs that may be more motivating to you and evaluate jobs that tend to drain your energy. For example, S-styles tend to be more comfortable in team-oriented, stable environments. As always, DISC can never predict your success in a career or in life; you can be successful in whatever job or role you have. It simply helps you to identify the roles and jobs that tend to take more energy and effort for you, and those that tend to be more energizing and motivating for you.

Remember, it's not about ability or even about changing who you are. You can excel at all behaviors! It's simply about energy. Behavioral strengths don't take energy. If you are aware of your behavioral strengths then you can highlight them. You can also proactively address your development areas in a way that creates room for growth. The key is to know when to use your strengths and knowing when adjustments would make you more successful. Now you have part of the competitive advantage needed to rock your interview!

Identifying your interviewer

Businessman and businesswoman shaking hands at office desk

Extended DISC can help you succeed in your interview by using your ability to identify the main style of your interviewer. Understanding a hiring manager's preferred way of interacting can greatly help get your interview and your career off to a quicker and more positive start. We all have different and preferred ways of doing things.

If you recognize the hiring manager appears to be more reserved and formal, it will be a good reminder to you to slow down, provide more details, and give them time to process information. Look for non-verbal cues like eye-contact and body language. If they approach you with a strong handshake and direct eye contact they may be a more active style so consider avoiding too much detail and respond quickly whenever possible. Do they prefer to talk about people or tasks? Listen to the questions they ask and what they seem to prefer to talk about. If it's task, then remind yourself to focus more of your answers on tasks.

Once you know what drives interaction for the hiring manager, you can present yourself in way that better engages them. You know how to adjust because you know what tends to motivate them to interact with you.

A few final thoughts...

Business man pointing to transparent board with text Youre Hired!Remember, don't jump to conclusions too quickly about the hiring manager's style or you can get into trouble. For example, if you assume the manager is a task-oriented D-style then you'll try to skim over details and move quickly. It turns out they are actually a task-oriented C-style, where details and a slower pace is important. You can create initial impressions based on body language, first conversations, or even the emails exchanged leading up to the interview. However, as you gather more information about the person be sure to adjust and refine your identification as needed; think of identification of styles as part practice, part art.

DISC helps you present your qualifications for the job more effectively. In fact, it may make the difference between success and failure in the short time you have. You can use DISC to build your self-confidence, identify the style of the hiring manager, and ultimately, communicate in a way that is more likely to engage them so they respond more positively.

It's not just about getting the first job interview done or even the first job offer, but it's something that you will continue to use throughout your adulthood and career. DISC can help you continue to advance by enabling you to have more successful interactions as a team member, but that's another blog...

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