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Soft skills that may give job seekers a leg up


Trenton Willson

By Trenton Willson

Job seekers who have taken any classes on job interviews have heard the most common themes of a good interview, such as:
1- Prepare a good commercial to answer the interview question, “Tell me about yourself.” This commercial is often referred to as your elevator pitch, me in 30 seconds etc. It is critical to be able to briefly brag about your skills and experience and make an impact.
2- Answer the questions using a specific Situation, Action, and Result (SAR Technique). Employers want to hear a specific story or experience that indicates you are capable of handling whatever situation they have asked about.
3- Come prepared with questions to ask the interviewer. At the end of an interview, sometimes at the beginning, they will ask if you have questions. Be prepared to ask intelligent questions that have nothing to do with how much you get paid.
These and many others, are things hammered into the job seekers’ mind by job coaches, YouTube videos, and job services in the community. But what about the soft skills that can offer the upper hand?
I will provide you with three skills that many interviewees rarely possess or effectively do that just might get you the job.
1- Proactive eye contact – There is a difference between staring and seeing. Staring, often referred to as “Blank” stare has nothing behind it and comes across as mechanical. You have been told to maintain good eye contact, and so you do. Seeing is a deeper form of eye contact where you consciously make the effort to connect with the interviewer. As you look into their eyes, ask yourself, who is this person? What greatness do I see in them? What wisdom do they possess? It is amazing how much you can learn by proactively looking into someone’s eyes.
2- Play the equal – You are likely interviewing with your future boss. The term boss has forever been a term of superiority. We often enter an interview with the feeling of inferiority.
Bob Newhart in one of his TV sketches advises, “STOP IT!” Come to the interview with the confidence that they need you more than you need them. They have pooled the resource of several individuals and company funds just to talk to you. Be their equal and in some cases, be their consultant.
3- Add value after the interview – Writing a thank you note is important but what is stopping you from providing the employer with value after the interview. There are many ways this can be done. Do a little research about the industry and send an article as part of a follow up. Write a LinkedIn recommendation. Send a customer their way. All of these things add value to them. Bribery is not recommended but send them a bag of popcorn for their popcorn machine in the lobby. Be memorable after the interview. If you are not hired, they will more likely remember you next time.
Interviewing is an art. Not only should you have the mechanics down, your ability to emotionally connect with your future employer is highly valuable and should never take back stage to the mechanics of an interview.
Trenton Willson is a careers coach and occasional business reporter and columnist for the Sun Advocate. He can be reached at dreamcoachers@gmail.com.

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