Soft skills are an essential component in job success, and employers know it. Glance at a job posting and you’ll see requirements such as superb communication skills, relationship building, adaptability and collaboration. In an interview with Yadi Caro on her podcast, Hardcore Soft Skills Interview, I describe how you can demonstrate soft skills in your job interviews.
Click the arrow to listen to the podcast, or follow this link.
Following are a few highlights of the discussion.
Demonstrate soft skills in the HR screening . . .
Prove you have good social skills in your first conversation with the recruiter. Do this by relating warmly to them as a person, communicating clearly, and being proactive and assertive about asking questions. For example, if they don’t give you enough information about who you’ll be interviewing with, and what those people’s roles are, ask. If they don’t know yet, follow up later.
. . . as the interview continues . . .
When asked questions about your strengths, include at least one soft skill, being very specific. For example, if you know you have excellent communication skills, don’t just say so. “I have excellent communication skills” is too vague. Instead, focus on a specific aspect of communication you’re especially good at. Which of these are your forté?
- Asking good questions and drawing people out
- Expressing empathy
- Using appropriate humor
- Speaking articulately
- Writing clearly
- Summarizing information and identifying key points or themes
- Being responsive and timely in your communications
- Or something else–what’s your unique communication talent?
Illustrate your point by telling a story, or by mentioning what someone else said or wrote about you (social proof).
For example, if I were interviewing for a job as an interview coach, I could say this:
In coaching sessions, as I listen to an interview answer that may be long and rambling, I note the key points and the most impressive parts of the client’s answer, then demonstrate a concise and memorable version of what they said. They often respond with, “Wow, you edited what I said, and now it sounds great.” That’s not surprising, since I’ve studied the art of editing as well as of interviewing. Or sometimes they joke, “Can I please take you to the interview with me?”
In the paragraph above, I chose a specific aspect of communication skills in which I excel, gave a real-life example, and included quotes from others. I think you’ll agree it was more convincing than if I had spoken in generalities. Plan an answer that works as well as mine, or better.
. . . and in following up.
After the interview, show you have good communication and relationship-building skills by following up in a way that goes beyond the basics. By “the basics,” I mean sending a thank-you note that conveys your appreciation, your strong interest in the role, and a sentence or two about the good fit between the role and your abilities. Take it a step further by subtly reminding them about a part of the interview that went particularly well:
“I especially enjoyed our conversation about (topic that made their eyes light up). I got curious about that, did a little research and found out (interesting fact). I’d love to talk with you further about that, and how it can help us accomplish (task involved in the role).”
Listen to this Hardcore Soft Skills podcast for more good tips to convince employers you have the soft skills they’re looking for.
P.S. Do you like listening to practical job search content? Grab your audiobook download of Get That Job! The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview audiobook at 60% off now through November 30, 2023.