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How To Answer Interview Questions On Growth Mindset

‘In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.’ ( Dweck, 2015)

Well-constructed job descriptions provide a mine of helpful information for candidates; The challenge many people face is being able to interpret and then confidently and comprehensively address the requisite skills, knowledge and experience. We regularly provide Interview Coaching with clients working specifically through their job description. Clients are usually good at  identifying areas from within the Candidate Profile where they consider themselves to be strong and experienced. There is a natural tendency however to gloss over weaker or less understood requirements. The phrase ‘needs to demonstrate a Growth Mindset’, was buried within a job description I was recently reviewing. It’s very similar to the behaviour Developing Self and Others in the Civil Service Success Profile framework. If you have not heard of the Growth Mindset philosophy it is reasonable to think that this simply means open to new ideas, then swiftly move on to other role requirements; In fact, there is a well-documented supporting theory around Growth Mindsets which must be read and given due consideration if a candidate is to take advantage of every opportunity during the interview to demonstrate they naturally work this way. In her best selling book , ‘Mindset – The New Psychology of Success’ Dr Carol Dweck coined the terms ‘Fixed Mindset’ and ‘Growth Mindset’. Most people possess both to varying degrees, so how can you demonstrate that you are firmly in the Growth Mindset camp?  In simple terms, a person who demonstrates a Growth Mindset is:

  • A person who embraces challenge.
  • Persists in the face of setbacks.
  • Views effort as a path to mastery.
  • Learns from criticism.
  • Finds lessons and inspiration from the success of others.

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At the opposite end of the spectrum is a person with a fixed mindset, for example, a person who avoids challenges or gives up easily. Whereas it’s beyond the scope of this short note to suggest and coach how you change your mindset – if indeed you need to, it is important to think when crafting your stories and examples in preparation for Competency Based Interview Questions how you can incorporate a demonstration of these five key attributes. Remember, even if a growth mindset isn’t specifically asked for within the job description, you can assume most employers would see these strengths as being attractive in a new hire. Shorter Strength Based Questions are increasingly used during interviews and you much consider how you will approach your these questions with short, concise demonstrations.

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Typical Growth Mindset Interview Questions

To get you thinking, here are some of the typical interview questions you may be asked which provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate that you have a growth mindset at work:

  1. Give an example of a mission or goal you didn’t think was achievable?
  2. What was it and how did you help your team try to achieve it?
  3. What helps you to bounce back when things are going badly?
  4. What is your view on continuous learning?
  5. Give an example of a tough or critical piece of feedback you received. What was it and what did you do about it?
  6. Who inspires you?

Before rehearsing your draft answers and stories for the interview, remember to check how they satisfy the typical traits of someone who demonstrates a growth mindset at work, it could make the difference putting you ahead of other candidates.

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