Cultural fit is very high on the list of hiring criteria and “likability” is one of the reasons many candidates don’t get the job. How would you rate your emotional intelligence aka soft skills? Since soft skills play a role in most hiring decisions, how can you demonstrate them during an interview to your advantage?
1. Self confidence. Your self-confidence needs to show up front and center in an interview. If you are not confident about your abilities to do the job, how confident do you think the interviewer will be? Confidence can be exhibited with simple details like a firm handshake, how you stand or sit, how you dress. It is highly recommended to practice key interview questions before an interview and practicing your self-confidence should play a role in that practice session. Check out the tone of your voice and body language, because potential employers pay attention to these and use them to measure your confidence level.
2. Attitude. Are you a glass half empty or glass half full type of person? If you are shy or low-key, try to remember to smile and make an effort to add some enthusiasm into your responses. Keep the conversation engaging. Dull people aren’t hired as quickly (and sometimes not at all) as someone who is upbeat. Keeping employee morale high is a challenge in about any company so they want to hire people who will keep the energy high (which improves productivity too!).
3. Communication skills. Again, I’m going to recommend practicing your responses. If you use the simple C.A.R. (Challenge, Action, Result) method your answers will have built in examples of a time when you were challenged to do XX and the action you took was XX, which resulted in XX. By communicating these skills you are supporting information on your resume, as well as bringing forward additional details that were not on the resume due to space limitations. Your ability to communicate clearly and succinctly is a well sought-after skill by employers.
4. Time management. All companies (large and small) want to hire candidates with this skill. People who are most productive are good managers of their time. Companies want to get the most out of the money they are investing in you as a new employee, and the more organized you are, the more likely you will accomplish more in the same amount of time as someone who is scattered or distracted.
5. Work ethic. If you don’t agree with the work ethic of a prospective company, what makes you think you can be happy working there? On the other side, you need to prove that you have a strong work ethic to the interviewer. Give examples about how you gave 110% to a project that generated positive results, how you always complete projects on-time and within financial scope, how your persistence and drive generate great results and help to achieve company goals.
Often people think of soft skills as the stepchild in the skills arena. Don’t be fooled, they hold just as much weight as hard skills in some interview situations and your demonstration of these skills can make or break your chances of moving up in the hiring process.
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