Interview Skills That Set You Apart


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Today as a career coach, I rely on my past experience as a former recruiter with a Fortune 50 company to help my clients focus on what needs to be done to land their next job. Often I begin working with a new client and quickly find out that while they believe they have the basic steps in place and working for them, a closer look reveals that a few of the steps are missing. These basic steps are important and it can not be stressed enough – you can not skip over them. Some of the basics in any job search plan include (1) A focused, clear resume; (2) Demonstrated examples of the skills and experience needed to do the job; (3) Finding and applying for open jobs; (4) Networking skills; (5) Interviewing skills (6) Negotiating skills (including closing the deal).

In addition, I find that most job seekers fall short in two other very critical areas during their job search.
* Failing to preparing fully for the interview
* Not ensuring that their “soft” skills (which include communication, good listening skills, team work, etc. ) are polished and then failing to highlight them during the interview.

Going into the interview prepared as well as being ready to provide examples of past performance around these much desired soft skills often is enough to move you up on the “short list” of desirable candidates. Many interviewers don’t ask questions directly regarding these softer skills and all too often, candidates simply do not highlight this area during their interview.

So, what do you do to prepare to shine in these two critical areas? Being prepared for the interview means:

1. Resume – Bring extra copies of an up-to-date resume with you to hand to the interviewer; know what is on the resume and be able to speak about your experience without fumbling around or continually looking at your paper.
2. Research the company – Know what the company is all about, current events at the company; prepare a few relevant questions about the company as it relates to the position you are applying for.
3. Prepare examples IN ADVANCE of your accomplishments and be able to speak about them clearly and easily. This requires both preparation and practice. The biggest mistake I see is that many candidates fall short in the practice area. Work with an interview coach or trusted friend to ensure your words and examples are polished.

The second area is polishing and being able to demonstrate your “soft skills” during the interview. Most candidates do not consider this aspect of the job description when preparing for the interview. The job description usually contains a section that talks about skills which include communication, good listening skills, team work, etc. These skills are getting at the question “ If I hire you, can you get along with others here at the company?” Be ready and willing to demonstrate to the recruiter that you have these “soft” skills and then relate to the recruiter examples of past experience that show you have achieved success using these skills on the job.

About HR Performance Solutions

Linda Trignano of HR Performance Solutions provides Career Search and Career Enhancement Counseling nationwide for people in search of a new and more rewarding career. Linda partners with job seekers who are frustrated with their search, teaching them effective techniques to interview successfully to land a new job. Linda also focuses on business coaching and facilitates training sessions focused on leadership skills, team building and conflict resolution. The DiSC work assessments are available through the HR Performance Solutions website and training sessions are tailored to meet your business needs. Contact us at 973-839-5068 for a FREE 30 minute 1- on-1 phone counseling session to help you jumpstart your career search and polish your interviewing skills. Visit our website at


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