Humility: Interviewing for the Intangible
Years of searching for the best candidates means I’ve interacted with my fair share of talented people. As I interview them, I listen for qualities such as humility that indicate whether they are also a fit, making them the exceptional choice for a particular position.
At Durakis, we’re focused on talent and dedicated to fit. While talent is evidence-based and often backed up with metrics, fit is less tangible. There’s no certification to earn or resume buzzword to indicate that a talented candidate is also the right fit.
That’s where we come in. We hone in on the characteristics that separate the talented from the exceptional, particularly in terms of culture and leadership. One word choice indicates a critical, intangible trait to me: “I” vs. “we.” For instance:
“I increased sales last year by 50%”
“By collaborating with my team, we were able to increase last year’s sales by 50%.”
The accomplishment is the same, but the intention and acknowledgment reveal different characteristics. By acknowledging and giving credit to the efforts of their team, the second statement demonstrates humility, a trait critical to fostering a healthy workplace culture.
What does it look like for a leader to demonstrate humility? Here are the indicators I am happiest to hear in interviews:
- Respect: A respectful company culture fosters trust and open communication. This shows up in interviews when a candidate indicates active listening skills and the ability to accept and apply constructive criticism from their team.
- Accountability: Leaders who practice accountability can boost their team’s morale. When I hear that a leader takes accountability for their own mistakes and treats mistakes as learning opportunities, I see authentic humility.
- Self-awareness: When someone points out the successes and accomplishments of their team members, it shows me they are confident and self-aware enough to foster the growth of others by delegating responsibilities rather than seeking only personal success.
We recognize that soft skills and values such as humility are indispensable in ensuring every executive we place can deliver results and sustain them long-term through humble leadership that nurtures and empowers their teams.