I’ve got a confession to make. I hate interviews! I think they are scary!
It feels like being put in front of the Shark Tank titans.
If you can relate, you are not alone. Even the most experienced people on the planet report getting knots in their stomach the days preceding an interview.
Here’s the good news. Being nervous is a good thing! Yes, you read right. It’s a good thing.
Usain Bolt, the world’s 100 meters record-breaking sprinter, reported always being super nervous minutes before a race.
However, he managed to master the art of positive self-talk to get him through.
The good news is, you too can master the art of self-talk to prepare for pretty much everything – including interviews.
In a 2014 recruitment study, 73% of the recruiters said that Soft Skills were just as important as technical skills.
Let us now see how you can use Soft Skills to get that dream job
Tip 1: Write an Out-of-the-Box Cover Letter
It all starts with the cover letter!
Remember, the recruiter will receive hundreds of applications for the same position. Make sure that yours makes the cut and does not end up in the trash bin.
To start with, find out what the company’s voice is. Do they have a serious formal tone or are they casual and conversational?
If the company has the latter, as is the case with many businesses today, do not be afraid to step out of the box.
For example, in the subject line, instead of “Application for XYZ position,” write “3 reasons why I’m a good fit for the XYZ position.”That is bound to leave the recruiter curious.
If the position is for a non-traditional role such as a flight attendant, do not be afraid to be creative by adding a video to your cover letter. Videos can really show off your pleasant personality.
Tip 2: Answer the “Why?” question
“Why should they hire you and not the next person?”
Let your cover letter show that you are approachable and awesome to work with.
Don’t be afraid to brag a little. Sometimes it’s hard so a trick would be to write the letter in the third person then change it to the first person.
Find out what Soft Skills are required for the position and highlight them.
For example, mention how at your previous job, you learned how to interact in a multi-cultural environment, how you learned how to deal with angry customers, how you work well under pressure.
Sounds cliché but employers want to know that you are easy to work with. After all, we are living in a very team-centric world.
Tip 3: Interview Day – Prepare Like a Boss
Relax! You’ve got this.
Wake up early, pray, do some yoga, hug your pets – Whatever works for you!
Take deep breathes and convince yourself that you are one step away from your dream job.
Once ready, approach the venue with your head held up, shoulders high! (Fake it if you have to.)
Greet everyone who cares to listen. Thank the guard who opens the door and time permitting, make small talk. Anything to take your mind off the interview.
Remember, you are ready!
Tip 4: Interview like you already have the job
When it’s your turn to meet the panel/interviewer, smile as you walk into the room and if the interviewers extend their hands, give them a firm handshake and thank them for inviting you.
During the interview, follow the 80/20 rule;
Spend 80% of the time listening: Smile, nod and make acknowledging sounds to show that you are listening.
Spend 20% of the time talking: Tell personal stories and again, brag a little…
PS: Some panels will have a Simon Cowell – a stone-faced panelist who seems like a hard nut to crack. Do not let him/her get to you. Hold your confidence, and soon enough, he/she will reciprocate to your infectious enthusiasm.
5. Ask “I’m really interested in the job” questions
So the interview is about to come to a close. A good interviewer will always ask if you have a question.
Take this opportunity to ask for clarification if there is something that you did not understand. Use this opportunity to show that you had done your homework.
Ask a question that is relevant to the company. For example, “I noticed that your company does xxx. I was wondering if…”
Bang! This is really bound to win them over…
From start to finish, keep reminding yourself that the company has already decided to hire you.
Remember that each interviewee is unique. You are unique! So be honest, be genuine and don’t forget to smile!
The job totally has your name on it so go out there and ace it! All the best…
If you enjoyed this blog, download my free ebook, “The Captivating Art of Soft Skills: Tried and Tested Soft Skills’ Tips to Help You Win Your Clients’ Hearts.”