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‘Results orientation’ is a term used to describe a person's ability to recognise what results are important – and what steps need to be taken to achieve them.
It is an important skill in many careers, such as business or law, as it can be pivotal to the success of an organisation.
An ideal employee will be proactive and results-driven, and will always take the necessary steps to achieve set goals or targets.
In interviews, a candidate’s results orientation is typically tested via competency questions. These will determine what kind of results are important to a candidate, and if the candidate understands how to achieve results.
Being results-orientated not only increases your chance of getting a job; it also makes you a better employee.These steps will help you demonstrate your results orientation with confidence:
Consider the bigger picture. Too often, people focus on tiny details of a project that don't matter in the long run, or spend too long on one project and thus neglect others. Attention to detail is good, but it's important to ensure that this does not override your ability to stick to the task, meet deadlines and remain on budget.
Reminding yourself regularly about what you are working towards, as opposed to what you are working on, will allow you to achieve better results overall. Set yourself time-specific goals when working on a new project – and make sure you stick to them. Take the initiative to delegate specific jobs or roles, or set a weekly or biweekly deadline.
Identify solutions. Look for solutions as problems arise, or preferably before they arise. Having a back-up plan already in place will allow you to be one step ahead and ensure goals are met. Always remember the point you are trying to work towards, and take all necessary steps to get there.
Keep track of long-term goals. Be aware of the aims of both the project you are working on and the company you are working for. For example, you may work for a company that is advertising a new brand of drink. The aims of the project, therefore, are to introduce the brand to the market and encourage consumers to buy it. The company's aims, though similar, will be to establish itself in the market via the introduction of the new brand.
Consider how your work in the short term can help meet the company's long-term aims. The clearer the vision in your head, the better you will be able to work towards it.
Becoming results-orientated benefits both you and your employer – it means that you take pride in your work, that you are determined, and that you have some of the attributes of a great leader.
There are many interview questions that test whether or not you are results-orientated and, usually, they will require you to provide examples from your previous work or educational experiences.
As with any interview, remember to answer with confidence and self-assurance. Although interviews can be nerve-wracking, you must demonstrate your abilities without nerves getting in the way.
Below are some common interview questions and some tips on how you can answer them to effectively demonstrate your results-orientation skills:
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This requires you to speak candidly about a time when you felt proud of a tangible result or a process that lead you to achieve success. The employer wants to know that you have had experiences where you have achieved results, and that these results motivate you.
Take your time to consider an example that you believe to be particularly relevant to the job at hand.
For example, do not state that you were proud of yourself for getting your 10-metre swimming badge. Instead, say that you were proud to develop a new initiative in your previous job, or that you were proud for the work you did on your dissertation at university.
Try to give an example of a project that you worked on over a long period of time and to great success. Remember to discuss not only what made you feel proud but the steps you took and how you kept yourself motivated throughout the process.
Self-motivation is an asset common to those who are results-orientated.
This question is similar to the above, though it also tests your ability to work with and, potentially, manage others. This is vitally important, as you will be required to work collaboratively with others in most jobs in today's market.
With this in mind, develop an answer that details where you have taken initiative and led a group towards success in a project.
Make sure that you do not over-exaggerate your role or appear as though you took over and didn't allow others the opportunity to shine.
Instead, discuss how you motivated the group and worked together to achieve the intended outcome. It might be useful to reference a particular conflict that you overcame as a group.
This question is really aimed at identifying whether you understand the key requirements for success.
When discussing why you believe some people aren't successful, it's important to counter this with reasons why you believe you might be.
For example, you may state that some people are unsuccessful because they are unmotivated – and couple it with a statement that demonstrates your own motivation.
Use every question as an opportunity to present yourself in a positive light, even when they do not directly apply to you.
It is important, within this question, to not appear self-deprecating. It's fine to discuss times when you feel you have been unsuccessful, but also discuss the steps you are taking to amend this in the future.
An employee with good results-orientation skills will be able to take an idea (or a plan) from paper and bring it to fruition.
Answering this question is as such straightforward – simply discuss with the employer the different steps you take in your work.
Keep it brief, and give a concise outline of your plan of action. You can supplement this answer with different examples of projects you have undertaken and how you worked on them.
The more examples you can provide, the better.
Although it may not seem like it, this question tests your results orientation, since accountability is often key to success.
A good employee is able to discuss where things have gone wrong, without deflecting the blame onto others or making excuses.
Identifying problems – and proactively searching for solutions – is the key to ensuring future success and ensuring mistakes aren't repeated.
Don't simply state: “I held myself accountable when I did x wrong”. Instead, discuss the steps you took to resolve the issue and why it was important for you to take them. Demonstrate what you have learnt from not shying away from your mistakes.
Results orientation is a key factor in the success of many businesses and, as such, is something which employers often search for in potential employees.
The good thing about this is that it's easy to demonstrate, as long as you remain confident and are able to back up your answers with examples from your previous experience.
After all, most people are already results-orientated in their daily lives. Even from a young age, we are constantly setting different goals for ourselves – within both our personal and professional lives.
So while you should focus your answers on results within the workplace, evidence of your determination in your personal life is also an attractive quality in an employee – so feel free to give small mentions of this also.
Above all, as with any interview, remember to remain calm and trust in your own abilities.