The Top 4 Soft Skills You Need To Ace An Interview

Nicole Whitney
Posted: September 12, 2018

First, let’s tackle “soft skills” themselves — what are they? Soft skills are desirable qualities that are often intangible and difficult to quantify, but just as important as any to be demonstrated during the interview process. Examples include the ability to work with others, a good attitude, common sense, and empathy. Last month, we were thrilled to attend the CLO Exchange in Chicago, where we connected with our peers and had the wonderful opportunity to learn from industry leaders like Donald Dennis, CLO of Huntington Bank, who asserted, “Soft skills are the new currency.” We couldn’t agree more!

Now more than ever, organizations are taking soft skills into consideration when making hiring decisions, recognizing the essential connection between culture and a positive work environment. Do not underestimate the importance of showcasing your soft skills. Interviewees can get too caught up in demonstrating hard skills and relevant experience, overlooking the significance of CommunicationAdaptabilityCollaboration and Positivity.

1. Communication

  • Arguably the most important soft skill of all — effective, articulate, and polished communication is critical to acing an interview.
  • Without strong verbal (and written) communication skills, it is difficult to successfully showcase your skill set and land a job or project, regardless of your qualifications.
  • Tip: Work out the kinks prior to interviewing; practice interview questions out loud in front of the mirror or enlist a friend to run through a mock interview. This will help boost your confidence and ensure eloquent communication during your conversation with the hiring team.

2. Adaptability

  • Interviews (much like jobs and projects) do NOT always go to plan. Your ability to “roll with the punches” and reroute will be a great chance to impress.
  • This soft skill is critical for contractors, who are expected to adapt to any client situation.
  • Many interviewers will throw in an “odd ball question” just to see how the interviewee reacts when asked a question that couldn’t be prepared for. Here’s where you can demonstrate how you excel at critical thinking on the spot.

3. Collaboration

  • One of the most common interview questions will be some spin on, “Tell me a time when you were part of a team and…” Hint: The hiring team is trying to gauge how well you work with others.
  • Be sure to clearly demonstrate your ability to be a team player, a leader, a key collaborator — use concrete examples to back up your soft skills.
  • Organizations are also looking for dependability. Bring up a time when you were the reliable, steady influence on your team.

4. Positivity

  • Contributing to culture, providing mentorship, or simply leading by example will spread positivity in the workplace. In an interview, organizations are looking to identify people who will bring this type of passion and positivity to the workplace.
  • We all know that nothing brings down morale like negativity, and hiring teams are taking note.
  • Tip: Don’t be afraid to show a little enthusiasm during an interview!

Don’t underestimate the power of a soft skill, especially during an interview. Interested in putting your soft skills to the test and joining the team at ttcInnovations? Let us know! We are always looking to partner with Innovators interested in project-based consulting or Innovators on Demand™ (our newest division focused on staff augmentation)!


About the Author

Nicole is a Human Resources professional with expertise providing small business HR solutions that span strategic sourcing and recruitment to communication strategy. She is the newest Innovator to join the ttcInnovations team where every day she strives to enhance productivity, improve operations, and ensure success across the recruiting and hiring process. Her HR philosophy is to be informed and present. She is a proud Minnesotan, an avid reader, a mini-goldendoodle lover, and an enthusiast for summer nights spent in the backyard with family.