Gravitas: The Skill That Can Get You Hired

Gravitas: The Skill That Can Get You Hired

By: Erin Venable | June 02, 2017

Job searching is a difficult task and interviewing is one of the most stressful stages in the job hunting process. That’s why it’s so important to know anything that can give you an edge over the competition in the hunt to find employment. The new quality that more and more companies are searching for in their employees is gravitas. This sense of dignity, honesty, and dependability makes a job candidate the perfect fit for any job. But what actually is gravitas? Why is it so important? How do you know if you have it? What can you do if you don’t? We can help answer all of these questions and more.

Gravitas is a sense of dignity, honesty, and dependability that makes a job candidate the perfect fit for any job.

What is “gravitas”?

At first this word may seem out of context. You may think of someone serious and stodgy. You may want to ask, "Are companies looking for someone with no creativity or sense of humor?" Hardly! Gravitas has developed a new meaning. It refers to individuals who are dependable, but also genuine in their interactions. Harvard Business Review describes gravitas by saying "It can be a combination of good judgment, authority, personal power, and the ability to speak the truth and command respect." Gravitas means someone who is not mean-spirited and who owns up to their mistakes. It's also someone who can poke fun at themselves. Gravitas is about keeping your word and really listening to others, not being serious all the time, like you may have assumed. Just understanding this quality can help give you a better idea of what employers want from candidates.

Why do you need it?

Why is this concept of “gravitas” so important for job candidates? It comes down to the recent trend that consumers want gravitas in the companies and employees that they do business with. People want to know that they are dealing with individuals that are dependable and genuine, and thus employers want those qualities in their employees. Gravitas also goes beyond the consumer market and represents qualities that any employer wants in their employees in general. When choosing who to hire, employers look for someone who is true to their word, a good listener, and honest. Gravitas and these qualities may come easily to some, but don’t worry if they don't. Gravitas is also something that can be developed with time and effort.

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How can you tell if you have it or don’t?

Gravitas, and the dignity associated with it, is not something easily measured. How do you quantify someone’s presence? Don't fret! There are actually some factors that may help you discern if already possess gravitas or if you need to spend time developing it. Here are some questions to ask yourself. Do people listen when you talk? If others pause to listen when you speak that is a good indication that you have gravitas. Do you get ignored by others or never receive responses? If you get the feeling that others are not paying attention to you, you may have work to do in terms of gravitas.

How can you get it?

At this point you should have a good idea of what gravitas is, why you need it, and if you have it. Don't panic if you need to build up your gravitas. Here are 3 suggestions to help you develop the gravitas that you need to get hired.

  1. Body language. People instinctively take cues from each other based on body language. The key to exuding gravitas is by first mastering your body language. Hold yourself high and avoid slouching or posture that is too casual. Carry yourself with a sense of dignity. Avoid fidgeting. By playing with your hair, biting your nails, or even tapping a pen excessively you may give others the impression that you are unfocused or not paying attention. Instead, face toward the people you are speaking with, nod along with any points that they make, and angle yourself in an open position to invite them to better interactions.
  2. Pay attention to the way that you speak. Choose your words with care and make sure you have a purpose with each word. Pause while you are speaking, not only to help you form your thoughts, but also to show others that you are invested in the conversation. Be present in your interactions and use your words to show others that you are genuine.
  3. Improve your interactions with others. Gravitas is something that you can build and others will validate it. Choose the qualities that you want to embody like patience, composure, and courtesy, and take the time to make those qualities clear to others through your behavior. This is not something that can be forced or something that will change overnight. Practice and take time to learn these skills. By developing these qualities within yourself, you will be able to develop gravitas and that will give you the edge over job competition.

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In a job interview, you need make the interviewer believe you are the right choice. The pressure is always on in these often short conversations. That’s why gravitas is such an important quality for job seekers to develop. When you give your interviewer the impression that you are genuine, patient, and responsible they will want to hire you. Companies want those qualities for their brand and are looking for candidates that embody those traits. Take the time to develop gravitas. You will get the leg up on the competition that you need and it will get you hired.

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