You submitted your resume and cover letter and were lucky enough to secure an interview. You’ve actively been performing due diligence, trying to get a feel for what it’s like to work there. You’ve selected the perfect outfit, and are practicing responses to commonly asked questions you’ve found online. While these are essential in your preparedness for your interview, many candidates forget to prep details that make them stand out from the competition.
Your hard skills are likely what moved you from the resume to the interview stage, but your soft skills and character are what hiring managers are most interested in. Soft skills are a mixture of your social, people, and communication skills that, combined with your personality traits, allow you to understand an environment and work well with those around you.
A recent survey of over 5,000 talent professionals reveals that 91% felt that soft skills are important to the future of the workplace; soft skills topped a list that also included work flexibility (72%) and anti-harassment (71%). 45% of those interviewed indicated that bad hires were usually a lack of soft skills, with another 44% claiming it was a lack of a combination of soft and hard skills. As you can tell from these numbers, employers want to hire people who have soft skills. So how do you showcase yours and what can you do to prepare this information?
Tell Your Story (Then Prove It)
Leading up to the interview, practice is obviously key. While examples like researching common interview questions have been discussed, it’s key to practice talking about yourself because it’s harder than you think. Thinking internally, list your top three to five soft skills. They should be clear and specific, as you aren’t hinting at being adaptable, you are telling them you are adaptable. While apprehension is common because this can feel like bragging, it is exactly what this time has been allotted for. This is your chance to talk about yourself, rather than counting on the hiring manager to connect the dots on their own once the interview has concluded.
Now that you’ve shared your soft skills, you need to back it up. Words mean nothing without evidence; the hiring manager likely won’t take your word on being adaptable just because you said you are. We then back up this claim with a quick but relevant example. Try to showcase a situation when we embodied the soft skills discussed.
Sticking with the adaptability example, one could share a story about taking on more responsibility in a previous role. Just be prepared to explain any example you give. The best way to ensure your example accomplishes what we intend is to practice ahead of time.