Skills are usually acquired, but you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression! Instead of going to millions of interviews, you can learn the steps the easy way. So how do hiring managers decide who to hire? It’s understandable that the hiring manager would try to figure out who’s the best fit for the job, but that doesn’t mean reading your resume is enough. Interviews show the hiring manager much more than what you look like. Interviews show your interviewing skills. We go over what those are and what easy steps you can take to adopt them.
Unfortunately, jobs don’t always go to the person most qualified for the position, but to the people who give the impression that they’re the best choice. Talents are notoriously hard to judge in an interview. There is only a 4% overlap between interview ratings and job performance ratings. This is because the people hiring often go off of their own intuition and then misunderstand one skill for another. For instance, confusing a person’s confidence with actual competence, or being extroverted with social skills or leadership. This is how people who aren’t as qualified can get the position. So how do you show off your real job skills in an interview successfully without bragging?
Research and Compare the Desired Job Skills to Your Resume
Before you interview, we always recommend that you research the company ahead of time. Re-read the job description and compare what you find out online. Be sure to review your resume so you know what they already know about you. This way you can list the skills that this position requires, such as a great attitude or obscure computer skills. Not everyone feels comfortable talking about themselves. If that’s the case, we recommend telling a short story that shows what you can do and shows your skills. Stories are more memorable for the hiring manager and you’ll come across as more human.
Discuss Your Skills Using Numbers or Stories
While past performance doesn’t necessarily lead to future results, it can be a great indicator of your abilities. Using numbers is a great way to distinctly show what you can achieve. Using solid numbers can show that you’re not exaggerating, which is why they are preferred. “I managed 25 people and trained 10 managers each quarter for 5 years” gives a solid answer instead of “I managed people and trained managers each quarter for a few years.” See the difference? Removing the numbers can remove some of the trust. If you don’t have numbers for some reason, you can still use stories from your past experiences. Either way, the hiring manager will be reassured that you’ve done something similar before.
It is important that you keep the story brief. We are a culture of short attention spans, so it needs to be a short answer. Explaining in too much depth can work against you. It can make you appear to be arrogant, self-centered, or narcissistic.
Show Self Discipline
Skills aren’t just what you do while at work. They also encompass other details, like if you’re able to get to work on time. This is why it’s crucial to show up on time (or even early!) to your interview.
Working from home has its own obstacles. Being micromanaged isn’t on anyone’s wish list, but some managers are nervous about how much you can produce while working from home. You need to be able to prove that you can work independently and produce results. If you can’t log on or show up to the interview on time, what chance that you can do the job without being watched constantly? So show up or log on to your video chat interview just a little early.
Before starting your interview, be sure to turn off your cell phone. Checking your phone or reading any banners that come up is considered terrible behavior. Being distracted in an interview by your phone can come across as disrespectful and says that you don’t have the self-discipline to focus. No one wants to hire or work with someone who is late, disrespectful, and lacks self-discipline. Don’t be that person! The only possible excuse for keeping your phone on would be if someone was already in the hospital. If that is the case, let your hiring manager in the very beginning of the interview, before any questions have started.
Show Soft Skills
Most careers require that you interact with another person in one form or another. You can show good people skills in the job interview by not interrupting the other person, speaking for too long, or showing off. Using good manners is an easy way to show that you do know how to interact with others successfully. You can show off other skills in stories, such as problem-solving, perseverance, teamwork, creativity, or time management. A story about leading a work project is perfect for any leadership role. It’s crucial that you show that you can work with other people successfully.
This is also why you should be polite to everyone you meet at your job interview, whether or not they have control over if you’re hired. One interesting story about interviewing was a young man who applied for an account manager role. He showed up on time and was polite to the hiring manager, but not the front desk clerk. He wasn’t hired because the position required working with clients – and their front desk personnel. If he couldn’t be polite at the place he was applying, what hope could they have that he would be polite to clients? You never know who has input on whether or not you’re hired, so make sure you’re polite to everyone. It might seem little in the scope of things, but it can be the difference that costs you the job. So use your soft skills. Be polite, smile, say “please” and “thank you”, and don’t interrupt other people. It makes a big difference!
Watch Your Body Language
This one is a bit harder, but it can be done. When you’re interviewing, either remotely or in person, it’s important that you pay attention to your body language. To look interested in what they’re saying, lean in a little. If keeping eye contact makes you nervous or uncomfortable, look at the spot between their eyebrows or their forehead. Be sure to smile!
Have a Good and Engaging Attitude
A good attitude is important no matter where you’re applying! No one wants to work with someone who has a lousy attitude. Even if you’re discussing a time you were fired or made a mistake at work, be sure to end it with a good attitude. If you want the position, it’s important to come across as a person that people want to work with!
So there you have it! Those are the six interview skills you need to show off when you go to a job interview. Some of them might feel obvious, but we wouldn’t put them on the list if they weren’t important. To sum up, you’ll need to:
- Research and Compare the Desired Job Skills to Your Resume
- Discuss Your Skills Using Numbers or Stories
- Show Self Discipline
- Show Soft Skills
- Watch Your Body Language
- Have a Good and Engaging Attitude
Good luck! You’ve got this!
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