You’re seated across from an interviewer who is waiting to be impressed. What will make you stand out from the herd? Well, like it or not, it probably won’t be your academic record. Your resume is also a feature that can only serve to eliminate you if you haven’t done it well. Grades, classes, and resumes rarely set you apart.
So what makes the difference? It’s your ability to master crucial conversations that is most likely to land you that job. Every time you talk with a future employer, you’re in the middle of a crucial conversation. Stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong.
Why would recruiters pay so much attention to your interpersonal skill as demonstrated during the interview? Interpersonal skills matter because in a real job, you work in a social environment made up of small groups and teams. Individuals who aren’t able to express themselves well aren’t heard, so their best ideas are often missed. Additionally, individuals who fall apart under the pressure of an interview aren’t going to stand up to the tension-filled conversations offered up most days at work.
Some helpful tips on landing that job:
1. Work on your mindset. Convince yourself that you want the job and you’d be honored to work for the company. Otherwise, you’re not a good enough actor to hide your uncertainty or possible disdain. You can always say no later.
2. Read your audience. As much as the interview feels like it’s about you, it’s not. It’s about how well you’ll fit into the new culture. That means you need to know something about the company and people you’re talking to. Do your homework. Also, as the interview unfolds, watch for nonverbal cues.
3. Practice holding crucial conversations with a friend. Practice both advocating and listening. Ask your friend to see if you speak confidently without seeming pushy or brash, and if you carefully listen. Ask clarifying questions when necessary.
4. Ask for the job. You’d be surprised how many people aren’t offered a job because they didn’t have the moxie to ask for it.