4 traits that might give you the edge in an interview

Nikkei Chairman Tsuneo Kita (R) and Financial Times Chief Executive Officer John Ridding speak to Reuters during an interview at the Financial Times headquarters in London, Britain November 30, 2015. Nikkei Inc. will use its $1.3 billion purchase of the Financial Times to build a global digital powerhouse by using data to win news clients and by harnessing the British newspaper's skill at getting subscribers to pay for content, its chairman said. As the biggest international acquisition by a Japanese media organisation to date completes, Kita said he would guarantee the independence of the salmon pink title by giving his word about not meddling. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett - RTX1WI7C

"We value people who think differently from us," Louissant says. Image: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Aine Cain
Careers Reporter, Business Insider
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Entrepreneurship is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:


What's a surefire way of impressing hiring managers?

Simple. Be competent, qualified, and smooth in job interviews.

However, according to Obed Louissant, the VP of HR for IBM Watson, there are a few other, less obvious characteristics that can make a candidate irresistible to hiring managers.

If you're able to convey these traits in an interview, you could really set yourself up for success.

Here are the four traits that Louissant says will give job applicants an edge:

1. You're curious

Louissant says that this characteristic is particularly important at IBM Watson, the branch of the tech company that focuses on the question-answering computer system.

"I think one of the things that bind a number of IBMers together is an endless curiosity," he says. "It is a significantly scaled organization and we're always going into new ventures, so our people have to be able to share that attribute around being curious and tenacious."

A drive to learn is admirable in any job candidate, so it's definitely a quality to showcase in your next interview.

2. You're interested in global affairs

In our increasingly connected international economy, demonstrating that your interests span borders isn't a bad idea.

"We are a very global organization," Louissant says. "Individuals who have global experiences or who appreciate the world — even if it's just through travel. Having people who think globally is really important to us as well."

So, how can you demonstrate that you're globally-minded? Talking about your past travel experiences can help.

"You can demonstrate that you love the world by going out into the different parts of it," he says. "There's quite a few individuals who in university or at some point decided to take a job in another part of the world or an experience in another part of the world or had a very unique holiday."

However, not everyone has had the opportunity or financial means to travel abroad extensively. If you haven't seen the world yet, just be prepared to demonstrate your interest in global affairs — especially ones that pertain to the organization you're interviewing with.

3. You're a team player

Louissant says that he's always on the look out for "individuals who are all about themselves." If you can signal that you're a team-oriented person from the get go, that will give you a leg up with most hiring managers.

"I think in our environment things are done through teams and through working together and growing together," he says. "That generally is a red flag, the way in which the person focuses just solely on themselves and not on being a team player."

4. You're authentic

Hiring managers may be trained to look for culture fit, but smart ones know that encouraging diversity of thought is important too. It's fine and good to hire people who line up with your organization's vales, but not to the point that everyone on your team thinks exactly the same as everyone else.

So feel free to be yourself in the interview. Showcase your unique way of solving problems and approaching work.

"We do value people who think differently from us," Louissant says. "When they're authentic and let their curiosity show, and they show there's a distinctiveness in them, then we like that because that's going to test us and bring us into new areas."

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
LeadershipEntrepreneurshipSocial Innovation
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Chief Procurement Officers: What they do and why they’re ‘unsung heroes’ for tackling big global challenges

Linda Lacina

December 19, 2023

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum