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It can be easy to claim on a resume that you are outgoing, ambitious, a team player and people-person, or any other trait that the employer deems necessary in a future hire. In an interview, however, demonstrating these qualities can be more of a challenge.
First, there is the stress related to the interview. You don't want to come off as a fake by saying out loud all these good qualities about yourself. Striking a balance can be particularly difficult for people who are not used to being in interviews much and don't get to practice tactics that communicate their soft skills to future employers.
Because these skills can be critical in tilting the employer's decision, it is important that you know, first, what exactly the qualities required, and how to communicate them through your actions, words, body language and written communication.
To do so, follow these steps when you being interviewed:
Read the job post
Many people may skip over the intro and jump to the job's requirements, etc. That is not a good approach. Read the post in full and get a good sense of the employer's corporate culture. An employer may describe the work environment as upbeat, fun, fast-paced, etc. All of these are good clues on what type of personality a good team member should be.
Although no one can become a different person for the sole purpose of getting through an interview, it's good to bring your best abilities in these challenging areas. Remember, employers hire the best person who can fit into a team. So while you're working on presenting your qualifications, and making an argument on why you're the best candidate for the job, present yourself as a great fit for the company as well.
If the employer is looking for someone who is able to work across different departments and collaborate with others, make sure you have proof rather than claims. These can be examples of projects completed successfully in the past in similar work contexts. You also can bring in letters of recommendation that vouch for your abilities, or mention the importance of these skills to your future employer.
In an in-person interview, be ready with success stories to share. Hiring managers often ask questions about past situations where particular personal qualities were effectively employed to achieve a particular goal. Instead of taking time to recall such situations during the interview — under pressure — be ready with these stories.
In addition, preparing ahead means that you will be able to connect the dots easily when you tell the story to show how your skills helped make a particular project or situation successful.
Demonstrating your confidence, positive energy, respect and similar qualities is the best way to earn the hiring manager's vote. Saying that you're a confident people person while flustered by interview pressure won't fly. You must demonstrate what you say.
Shake hands with everyone you're introduced to confidently, introduce yourself, maintain eye contact with the person, and pay almost equal attention to everyone in the room.
If your future job requires dealing with company clients, government officials or similar key people, make sure your conduct, attire and communication are appropriate. In addition, keep tabs on any signs of anxiety or stress during the interview.
Don't tap your fingers or feet, for example. In short, appear to be relaxed and comfortable in your future employer's office. The more you demonstrate that you will fit right in with the team and culture, the easier it will be for the hiring manager to make the same conclusion.
Personal qualities in an interview
Demonstrate them in your conduct and communication.
Get past examples and references.
Understand what the employer is seeking.
Keep tabs on your body language.
Source: Rania Oteify, Special to gulfnews.com
The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor