If you are extremely qualified, have terrific application materials, a targeted resume and you’re interviewing for jobs, but always coming up with a silver medal, it’s possible that you’re bumping up against an elusive category: likability. Also known in the industry as “cultural fit,” likability is a reason many candidates don’t make the final cutâ€”the interviewers either didn’t like them or didn’t believe they would mesh well with current employees.
One of the reasons that most employers don’t provide specific feedback to a second-place candidate is because it’s difficult to explain why someone doesn’t fit in. An employer can get in legal hot water for explaining that someone didn’t get hired because the team just didn’t like the candidate and couldn’t imagine spending a lot of time together.
Emotional intelligence, otherwise known as soft skills, is the category of skills most likely involved when evaluating likability or fit. Wikipedia defines them as “Personal attributes that enhance an individual’s interactions, job performance and career prospects. Unlike hard skills, which are about a person’s skill set and ability to perform a certain type of task or activity, soft skills relate to a person’s ability to interact effectively with co-workers and customers and are broadly applicable both in and outside the workplace.”
Soft skills include: attitude, communication skills, time management, critical thinking and a slew of other categories that do not relate to intelligence.
There’s no question that soft skills play a role in most, if not all, hiring decisions.
How can soft skills help you land a job?
So how can you demonstrate these skills during an interview? Eddie Earnest from HigherNext, a company that offers the Certified Business Laureate (CBL) certification tests and credentialing system, suggests the following tips to help highlight these five soft skills during an interview.
1. Work ethic. Make sure to weave your thoughts about how important the company’s mission and vision are to you and explain why you’re willing to go the extra mile to help the organization succeed.
2. Positive attitude. Give examples of how you improved employee morale in a past position, or how your positive attitude helped motivate your colleagues or those you managed.
3. Communication skills. Your interview is a great opportunity to demonstrate how well you communicate, so be sure you prepare and practice responses to showcase your best skills.
4. Time management. This is a crucial skill many employers seek in their hires. Earnest notes, “It’s especially important for candidates who want to work in a startup to know how to manage their time, tasks and responsibilities effectively.”
5. Self confidence. Earnest reminds job seekers, “You can demonstrate self confidence at the interview by the way you present yourself, including how you dress for the interview, the way you approach to shake hands and how you speak about your experiences during the interview.”
Read the whole post on U.S. News & World Report.
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