As you navigate today’s job market, you are likely to hear the buzzwords soft skills or emotional intelligence. What are soft skills? And, how can you use this knowledge to ace your next interview?

Soft skills are personal characteristics that enable someone to interact effectively with other people. They include a wide variety of traits ranging from overall attitude to work ethic to creativity. Generally, soft skills are applicable across job titles and industries, whereas hard or technical skills are specific to certain careers.

So, let’s say you have landed an interview. What can you do to emphasize your likeability and prove you are a good culture fit?

Do Your Research

It’s no surprise that different organizations and occupations have different values and priorities, and you need to know what to focus on during the interview. Visit the company’s website to learn as much as possible about what they consider important, or if you have a connection, try to talk to someone who works there. This knowledge makes you look self-motivated, resourceful, and well-prepared. And, guess what? These all are good soft skills.

Make a Good First Impression

Your resume may look impressive, but in person, your actions will speak louder than words. Dress appropriately for the interview, greet everyone professionally, give a firm handshake, maintain eye contact, display confidence, and most importantly be polite to everyone you meet. Fair or not, hiring managers may make an initial judgment about you in as little as seven seconds. (Business Insider, 2013)

Watch Your Time

If you are nervous, talking too much or too little can unravel an interview. Keep in mind the 20 second to two-minute rule. An answer that takes less than 20 seconds is too short. This may imply that you lack communication skills. A response that is over two minutes is too long, and an employer may assume that you are self-absorbed. Practice sample questions with a friend and try to keep responses in the one-minute range.

Give Examples of Your Skills in Action

Use your interview answers to highlight your emotional intelligence. However, do not simply say, “I am a good team player.” Instead, give a short dialogue about how you were a good team player. Stories are more powerful and memorable than a list of what you supposedly do well.

Write Thank You Notes

Although this may sound cliché, taking the time to write a few notes speaks volumes about your people skills. The rule of thumb is to send a handwritten thank-you to everyone you met that day. Although this may sound like lots of work, do not underestimate this time-tried advice. It may remind the boss, who conducted numerous interviews that day, what a great candidate you were.

Are you struggling with the interview process, or are you finding it difficult to even get an interview? The experts at an employment agency can assist you with your job hunt. United Talent has offices throughout West Virginia. Contact Us today and see how we can help.