Soft Skills for Interviewing and Your Career |

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We are culturally conditioned to think of only demonstrating competence on interviews but there is much more.

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I wanted to do a video today about, well, soft skills, because I think the temptation culturally, throughout the world, is you have to demonstrate your knowledge. Now, I don't want to diminish that at all. You have to know your subject, right? You have to know what it is you claim to have the expertise to do in order to be hired. However, we all know there are a lot of incompetent people who get hired. So what else is a company looking for? And that's really that in the realm of the soft skills.
Now, for years, I've said that there are a number of variables that companies look for when they hire, competence only being one of them. Self-confidence. Character, Chemistry, maybe a little bit of Charisma, these tend to be the primary variables that firms look for. So when you are interviewing, I want you to remind yourself going in, not just simply about what you know, but a couple of these variables.
Now, the first one is, what does your body language project? Now, you can be the slumped over guy who, you know, kind of wanders around, looking kind of beaten up. . . But is that really the image that you want to project? Do you want to look like, in effect, a loser?
No, you don't want to do that. You want to carry yourself physically from the time of the first handshake, until the end of the interview in a manner that demonstrates nothing that would distract them. Follow? I didn't say, now that you look like a winner, or might act like a loser. You just want to carry yourself in a way that doesn't distract them with some other quality.
Your oral communications need to be extremely strong. Part of the way to do that is practicing your answers to predictable questions in advance of the interview. Now, I want to be clear, when I say practice, I don't mean think the answer. I mean, speak the answer. Ideally, speak it to another individual because the more you do that, the more self-confident you appear, right? Because it's familiar to you. There's nothing unique, and you can practice the pauses, the inflections, the hesitations in your answer, so that, in this way, you show self-confidence.
For years, I've said great athletes and all have entertainer have coaches. And they all practice right? Like LeBron. LeBron is on the court practicing six days a week. He eats a particular way, seven days a week during the season and for part of the offseason, all to be ready for game time. Great entertainers will have coaches and they will rehearse . . . and job hunters go on interviews and the first time the words are coming out of their mouth is at the interview.
You see why you're failing? You don't practice; you don't rehearse. And part of what this will do is exhibit self-confidence because you're familiar with the material. It's kind of like when you got tested and you were in school and did your homework. Suddenly they ask you the question that you practiced the answer for 100 times and you say to yourself, I got this one? Well, it's the same thing on an interview.
This soft skill comes across very well. With that, I want to remind you about the quality of appearing happy. Now I'm not saying you should sit there and have a smile on your face like an idiot. But I am suggesting that, through your manner and through your self- confidence, you carry yourself with happiness. People like to hire happy people. They don't want to hire Debbie or Donnie Downer, right? They want to hire people who exude a certain quality that they want to be around.
Now another thing, and this is an interesting one, because I haven't really worked on this before, but I'm going to start adding this into my repertoire, they like to hire resilient people. In resilience, we're talking about bouncing back from adversity.
How can you do that in the course of your interviews? Easy. It's in the course of telling the story. Yeah, sometimes, there is no episode of resilience that occurs in a success that you had. But, I don't want you to ignore the opportunity to tell a "bounce back story" where, in the model I teach is Situation-Objective-Action-Result.
So, what was the situation you stepped into and what was your objective? What was the action that you took? What was the result? Now resilience is really in the form of was there a stumble in there. Was there a moment where there was a question as to whether this would get pulled off, and how you wound up, pulling it all together.
So, you might have the situation where suddenly, out of the blue, we had to make a 180 turn, and go in a completely different direction. Or, because someone had said, "Okay, I'm not quite sure I want I want this. I want to do it this way now," and you could have fought them tooth and nail, but instead you wanted to deliver the outcome.
So you mobilized the team. You got them in a completely different direction and you were able to deliver, not only on time, but a little bit ahead of time, because we were able to work cohesively instead of really, "Oh, the horror! Oh, the dread!" That sort of thing.
Now, in your work life, I want to mention one other thing that I think is also important because resilience shows up in your work life. Happiness shows up in your work, like the ability to communicate with self-confidence. Your body language shows up there. But there's one extra thing I want to bring to your attention and that's quality time management skills.
I'm not suggesting that you keep it a rigid structure to your day, but I am suggesting that where you can work a quality time management system into your repertoire and work it into your stories, which can be from a project management standpoint, how you organized the project. It can also be from the standpoint of day-to-day operations, how you're more effective in your work because you have an effective time management system. This is a good thing to add to your repertoire.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1500 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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