Psychologists say healthy self-esteem and work ethics are inextricably linked. Whether children are nurtured by circumstances and people who supported their self-esteem or damaged by those that don’t, the way in which they come to perceive themselves plays a big part in how they interact with others throughout their lives.
Explore this issueAugust 2011
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Achievements and Self-Esteem
Numerous studies have demonstrated the correlations between high self-esteem and educational achievements and between low self-esteem and addictions and social delinquency. One study about programs that were designed to raise the level of self-esteem showed the incidence of delinquent behavior in schools declined as students began to think more highly of themselves.
According to the National Association for Self-Esteem, “Educators, parents, business, and government leaders agree we need to develop individuals with healthy or high self-esteem characterized by tolerance and respect for others, individuals who accept responsibility for their actions, have integrity, take pride in their accomplishments, who are self-motivated, willing to take risks, capable of handling criticism, loving and lovable, seek the challenge and stimulation of worthwhile and demanding goals, and take command and control of their lives.”
Doesn’t this perfectly describe the kind of person you want to hire and work with?
While how we see ourselves affects performance—especially job performance—it isn’t necessarily how others see us. It is how we expect others to see us that is even more important in hiring. The best employees have both high self-esteem and realistic views of their job skills, which brings us to an essential interview question, which has the following two parts.
Tell me about the best [position being applied for or the person’s last position] you’ve ever worked with. What made this person stand out?
Ask This Because …
The qualities we admire in others are often the same qualities we feel we lack. Most people who have a good self-image respond to this perception of lack by working to gain or strengthen within themselves the qualities we admire. For example, candidates who admire people who develop close personal relationships or manage their time well likely believe they need these skills, at least to a greater degree than they have them.
“On a scale from zero to 10, with 10 being perfect, how would you rate yourself as a [last job title or position being applied for] compared to this person? What qualities do you think you need to develop to become as good as he or she is?