When preparing for an interview for a new position or aiming to gain a promotion, it can be easy to focus upon your job specific knowledge and experience and over look the soft skills which are just as important to ensuring that you land the role.
With more and more employers utilising competency based interviews as part of the recruitment process, failing to understand the importance of soft skills could see you trip yourself up as these will often assist employers differentiate between candidates of a similar calibre.
Whilst hard skills – your qualifications, training courses, experience and expertise – are undoubtedly important, soft skills demonstrate more to an interviewer about your people or interpersonal skills and generally cover areas such as communication, teamwork and problem solving.
The majority of candidates applying for a role will no doubt tick many, if not all, of the boxes – the hard skills - necessary to perform the role and any which do require improvement, such as mastering a particular IT programme, will often be in areas that can be addressed through training. Softer skills however tend to be the skills that a person ‘naturally’ possesses, and as such are not so easy to teach therefore can be harder to find an individual that displays the right qualities that will make them an ideal cultural fit for a particular organisation.
During an interview, employers will look to assess your soft skills through a series of questions aimed at getting you to talk about real life situations where you will be required to describe how you approached a particular scenario, your behaviour and what the eventual outcome was and what you took away from the experience.
Before attending an interview, it is worth preparing a handful of relevant examples that will enable you to demonstrate these skills.
Our top five soft skills for success:
Demonstrate that you are a good communicator by illustrating your examples with the type of language that you used, your tone, delivery and also your ability to listen and take on board the views of others.
Show that you can think around a problem and come up with creative solutions and put in place measures to address any obstacles which you may come up against. It is also beneficial to highlight examples of where you have been proactive in anticipating a problem and where you have been able to overcome unexpected issues to produce a successful outcome.
Can you deliver a compelling case for approaching a project in a certain way? Can you build effective relationships with other team members and departments to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal? Can you take on board other points of view and work collaboratively to help shape the eventual outcome?
Are you genuinely enthusiastic about the role and opportunity to join the company? Don’t be afraid to show that you are keen to become part of the team and that you have the drive and desire to make the role a success.
It’s important that you demonstrate that you are confident in your ability – but don’t let that come across as being arrogant. Show that you believe you are the right person for the role with examples of how you have made successful contributions, by sharing your goals and ambitions for the future and how you think you can make a real difference to the organisation.
Sharp Consultancy specialises in the recruitment of temporary, interim and permanent finance professionals. With offices in Leeds and Sheffield our highly experienced team of consultants recruit for positions throughout Yorkshire and beyond. CONTACT US today to speak to a member of our team about your next career move.