5 ways you can identify an initiator in the interview

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In today’s workplace, taking initiative has become quite important. Organizations seek for employees who can take action and make decisions related to their responsibilities without being told what to do and how to do it.

People who show initiative can find out what they need to know, learn it, and keep going forward taking advantage of opportunities that others might not see. This type of flexibility and courage encourages teams to be innovative and pushes organizations to overcome competition. 

Most of us have seen the initiative in action, and below are five ways to spot an initiator during a job interview:

1. They have a career plan

Ever interviewed a candidate who seemed to know how the job (s)he is willing to take connects to his/her career path? Candidates who understand the job description, the goals of the organization, and what should be achieved, and try to integrate their career goals with their personal goals, can work steadily and think creatively to achieve the goals. They do not need a lot of guidance, as they are able to find their way.

2. They are self-confident

People who believe they have the courage to accomplish bigger goals, do scarier tasks, and raise the bar, have that self-confidence that allows them to set small goals so they can achieve quick wins. They can also lead their team filling their boss’s shoes when necessary.

3. They can spot opportunities and potential improvements

A proper understanding of the organization’s goals, its customers, core competencies, and the bottlenecks it faces can help employees spot opportunities; and when things go wrong, they can think of the right solution.

4. They sense-check their ideas before presenting them

Whenever they come up with an idea to improve progress or overcome a bottleneck, initiators stop for a while and think of the costs and risks associated with it. They evaluate the idea and understand its consequences before heading to their boss to present it.  They don’t only show initiative by coming up with a solution, but also by studying its chances of success.

5. They are adaptable

People who are adaptable can act independently and excel as leaders. They can influence people around them to embrace change, they take the responsibility to add a lot to the organization and give it more opportunities to progress. You would absolutely want to hire candidates who show comfortability making quick decisions,  the ability to acquire new skills, and are ready to learn new technologies whenever needed.

While it is valuable to hire independent candidates who take initiative, it is also important to ensure their job descriptions and organization’s goals are crystal clear, and to check the candidate’s ability to read the emotions of others knowing when to make decisions and when to leave them to the responsible person, when to work independently and when to join the team.

If you are looking for initiators and independent employees, make sure to have a look here.


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