How Gratitude Can Transform Your Interviews

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I want to start my article about gratitude in the interview process by telling you how grateful I am. I am grateful for the opportunity to write down these thoughts and that you are reading them. I pray they are beneficial for you. I am grateful to be a part of this team at Vanderbloemen Search Group, a team that collaborates, brainstorms, and dreams together about how to better serve the Kingdom.

Recently, our team had the privilege of coming together and naming some of the “x-factors” that we often hear people talk about in the interview process. One characteristic that came up often was gratitude. Candidates who express gratitude on a regular basis stand out above others.

Generally, job descriptions divide expectations of candidates into two broad categories: competencies/skills or culture fit/character qualities. The “x-factor” topic generally addresses the latter group and is obviously much larger than I can address in this short article. However, I hope to describe general gratitude as one of the “x-factors” that can be implemented by everyone involved in the interview process, and it is more of a choice than an attribute or aptitude.

Whether you're a candidate in the job search process or an interviewer in the hiring process, here are specific ways you can choose gratitude.

1. General Gratitude

It is far easier to find specific gratitude in response to situations than it is to choose general gratitude as a posture and discipline. Specific situations grab us in a way that move us to gratitude without much choice. General gratitude requires effort, courage, and faith.

We don’t have to look far in scripture to find a passage on giving thanks to God. We also don’t have to spend much time on Google Scholar or other scientific catalogs to find the studies verifying the psychological and physiological benefits of being grateful and naming our blessings. I hope these interview-specific opportunities for gratitude serve as a litmus test for how generally grateful we are and remind us how much we have to be grateful for.

2. Gratitude as an Interviewer

If you are discussing a job opportunity with a candidate, then you have been paid a large compliment. Thank them for identifying your church or ministry as something they would like to consider joining. Thank them for taking time to get to know you and the organization better. Thank them for giving you the opportunity to get to know them.

At a minimum, the candidate is curious about learning more about you at the interview stage, that means they have been impressed or intrigued by you at a substantial level. This candidate is contemplating giving the majority of his/her time to the ministry and mission that you are giving the majority of your time to, that is a significant partnership and investment. Thank them for considering that level of devotion.

Being grateful in this way will separate you from many other organizations and communicate a healthy culture. Demonstrating gratitude in the interview process can also be a mirror into how grateful you are in other aspects of your ministry and life.

3. Gratitude as a Candidate 

This gratitude may be more obvious, but it should not be overlooked. It may sound like standard etiquette, but not every candidate thanks the interviewer for the opportunity. Pause to say thank you when you make introductions, and then say thank you again. Follow that up with another thank you. I'm not saying you should end every sentence with a thank you, but make sure that everyone knows you are honored, privileged, and humbled to be considered for this opportunity.

The opportunity for gratitude as a candidate does not stop at thanking everyone for giving you this opportunity. You can choose to express gratitude for all of your experiences, transitions, and hardships. The way you represent your past experiences is very telling. Are you grateful for the path God has had you on? If you are not sincerely grateful, then it will be hard to muster up that gratitude in an interview setting.

No matter what side of the table you are on, general gratitude is a valuable “x-factor” to look for in the interview process. Gratitude positively impacts our health, and a healthy life often manifests general gratitude. 

What are some ways gratitude can be implemented into your life and interview process?

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