Any time you interview for a job, you know companies scrutinize your education, work history, manners, social media presence, wardrobe and more. (Hint: Don’t forget breath mints.) But did you know they’re likely screening for engagement, too?
Disengaged employees are a pox on all they touch — they kill sales, bum out customers and sap the morale of high performers. As employers become aware of this, it’s more vital than ever to display the characteristics of an engaged employee. Here’s how to do it:
1. Understand the concept
Employee engagement is more than good morale and camaraderie. (Click here to tweet this thought.) It’s about giving 100 percent at work. We’re talking time spent, ideas shared, knowledge gained and persistence displayed. It’s about finding meaning and feeling stimulated in your job, mastering a skill set, playing an important role in the company’s culture and taking pride in your work.
2. Share tales of engagement from your last gig
Research shows that only 30 percent of the workforce is truly engaged at work. Employees have checked out due to lack of interest or motivation. Does that include you? Differentiate yourself from other job candidates by offering specific examples of how you’ve engaged in the jobs you’ve had so far.
Did you take on an assignment to expand your abilities? Did you volunteer for the tough job no one else wanted, just to see if you could? Did you start a network for workers in similar roles to share ideas and best practices? Did you recruit a superstar to your team? If you answered "yes" to any of these, say it loud, with spirit, in your interview.
3. Display your commitment to commitment
Engagement at work rests on a sense of commitment — not only to your job, but also to the bigger mission. If you find yourself saying “That’s not my job” or “I don’t know how to do that” more than “I think I can help” or “I’d like to try,” there may be an engagement gap.
Dive in and take on new projects. You’ll learn and be ready to speak about how you do this in a sustainable way. It’s OK to share when taking on too much is a problem, too. Burnout is the biggest risk for hyper-engaged people.
4. Showcase how you’ve become stronger by overcoming challenges
Everyone has challenges in the workplace. Unfair workloads, bad attitudes, challenging market conditions. Truly engaged employees are quick to take ownership for both successes and failures and point to the lessons they learned. Be prepared to talk an interviewer through your trials-by-fire, your resilience and your ultimate success in the face of adversities great and small.
5. Show that you’re an intrapreneur
Intrapreneurs are engaged employees with an entrepreneurial mindset. They act like owners, developing innovative solutions to problems and adding value beyond their job description. Give examples of how you proposed a product or service idea that helped those outside your team, how you identified a specific problem and implemented a solution. Then get ready for that “welcome aboard” handshake.
Engage at work, volunteer, hustle, show intrapreneurship and land your new job. And who knows, if and when you go all in, you might create your own position within the company.
Or create your own company.Henry Albrecht founded Limeade in 2006 and has led the company from an idea in his basement to a high-growth SaaS employee engagement company. Before earning his MBA from Kellogg School of Management, Henry dribbled the basketball in Europe and used his love of statistics and technology to hustle through product and marketing roles at companies such as Intuit.