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What is the secret of people who always excel in job interviews?

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A very hungry caterpillar

Jan 13, 2021, 17:25

As a hiring manager (and somebody that has been offered 99% of jobs interviewed for), here's what I've seen and I actively look for: most compatible fit for the role and the company.

I find this when an interviewee is open and honest about their skill sets (soft and hard skills), demonstrates their core personality in the interview and connects with me as a person. We are going to be working closely, if I don't like a person, I won't hire them, and I generally like most people. The people that come in and presume they are the best fit, are not good. I had one under-qualified women tell me that she expected me to send her an offer by the end of the day, she was obviously going to be working for me. And she called me honey (we are not in the southern US where that might be acceptable). That would be a no.

What I've learned is that there are certain skills that I can't teach somebody to have if they don't have it already. These are soft skills. I can help somebody refine and improve them, but not give them something they don't have. These are things like intuitive problem solving skills and organization (A+B means I should do C, then C gets placed here), ability to hold a balanced conversation (actively listening as well as answering questions thoughtfully), and a certain temperament that lends itself to the type of company I work at (somebody that loved working at a small family owned business is likely to hate working for a massive international company). You as an individual can work on gaining these, but you have to have the personal drive to do so.

The key is to demonstrate that you have valuable soft skills (read between the lines of that job description!) AND at least the basic hard skills (those specific to the job that can be trained on - systems, software, product, etc) the job needs. Plan out good examples of how you have used these skills. I want to know what you accomplished and how using those skills to do it.

I'm much more likely to hire a candidate if their soft skills are on the mark and they lack some hard skills knowledge than the other way around. I can train on software, but I can't train you to be curious and confident enough to figure things intuitively when I'm not there or force you to ask for help when you need it.

Focus on showing how your full skill set and personality are a good match for the company. And make sure the company is a good match for you. If you focus on that, you'll have a more successful interview.

Fun Video: Kids interview for jobs


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