Some of the most important qualities as a job candidate are the hardest ones to list on a resume.
Specific traits, beyond technical skills, are what a discerning recruiter or employer is looking for when making a hiring decision. These qualities are called "soft skills," desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge: they include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive flexible attitude.
When bringing new employees aboard, managers consider attitude as much as aptitude. Some believe you can train employees for the specific skills they need to do the job. Hiring a candidate with the right demeanor may actually be a better choice than hiring someone who is rigid, set in their ways and has years of experience.
Here are 6 tips to give you an edge at your next job interview.
Be eager to learn. Technology has ushered change into virtually every field, which means many industries are constantly - and quickly - evolving. Employers want to feel confident in your ability to adjust, switch gears and actively seek opportunities to learn new skills. Your job description is a template to follow. It's your responsibility to continue to add value to your position through continued growth, letting your interviewer know you are ready and able to step up to the challenge.
Highlight your communication skills. How well you speak, write and listen will be revealed throughout your interactions with your interviewer. It's important to make sure you are at the top of your game. Any written communication, even a brief email confirming your interview time, must be free of errors and casual abbreviations, with all names spelled correctly (don't guess; double-check).
Show enthusiasm. It doesn't mean you have to bounce off the walls with over-the-top zeal. You just have to show a genuine interest in the job, the company and the opportunity. Demonstrate this by doing your homework in advance, understanding the company mission, its history and who the company caters to as a client. In other words, show your research skills and ask questions. Body language also plays a part: sit up straight, make eye contact, smile genuinely and look alive.
Be a good listener. While it's important to showcase your abilities, a solid interviewee knows the value of thoughtful contemplation. Don't interrupt the interviewer or get ahead of yourself and lose sight of the conversation. Show respect for the interviewer by allowing them to finish a thought, while you process their statement or point of view and then respond at the appropriate time. Asking a question which has already been answered shows immaturity or lack of focus on your part.
Emphasize your collaborative spirit. Teamwork is part of almost any job. Employers want to know that they are hiring people who work well with a variety of people and can help bring out the best in others. Offering examples of successful collaborative efforts, both with co-workers and clients, can help let them know that you are a team player. An "it's not my job" attitude is the kiss of death for any employee over the long term.
Spotlight Your Integrity. Being a leader is not about where you sit on the company org chart. It's more about your ability to show good judgment, display a solid work ethic, face challenges with calm and confidence; and show loyalty to the company, peers and the overall brand. A good job candidate must also be a good community member and trusted friend. Business and pleasure often overlap. Be careful to speak only positive words about your former employer, a business associate or a neighbor.