Working the room: how to showcase your interpersonal skills during a job interview

Working the room: how to showcase your interpersonal skills during a job interview

When interviewing for a job, your technical qualifications may bowl people over, but don’t forget to also emphasise your solid interpersonal skills.

In fact, it may not be a stretch to say that good people skills could be what set you apart from the competition.

The reason? Strong social and interpersonal skills assure the hiring manager that you have what it takes to get along with colleagues, clients and everybody in between. Employers also know it’s typically easier to teach a person technical skills than it is to instil the soft skills a position requires.

Since a lot of jobs involve interacting with people, good interpersonal skills are not just important, they’re often vital to strong performance. Here are three interpersonal skills that will dazzle just about any potential employer and how you can demonstrate them during a job interview:

Discover more interview tips

1. Communication skills

A particularly impressive skill is the ability to articulate and clearly convey information and ideas. Listen attentively to the questions the hiring manager asks and give succinct and organised answers.

Don’t underestimate the importance of nonverbal communication skills as well. Maintain good eye contact and pay attention to your body language and gestures.

2. Leadership skills

A real plus to an employer is an individual who is able to oversee projects, resources and co-workers and deliver optimum results. Even if you’ve never spearheaded a project, you’ve probably been in situations in which you’ve had to exhibit leadership capabilities.

Review your previous work history and highlight times when you volunteered to train a new staff member or took the lead by pitching a more efficient plan or process.

3. Diplomacy skills

Being able to collaborate with others even under tense circumstances is a strong selling point to a hiring manager. Present yourself as a positive individual who enjoys teamwork. Think about times when you may have had to mediate disputes to keep the team focused.

Exercise caution when speaking about former colleagues or managers though; badmouthing others reflects poorly on you.

4. Time management skills

Time management is a vital interpersonal skill. Knowing when and how to prioritise your schedule will reflect the way you work with your stakeholders and the manner in which you will deliver on your work.

Hiring managers will be on the lookout for candidates who can demonstrate the ability to manage their time effectively - knowing how crucial this skill-set is to the performance of a business

5. Attitude

Last but not least, a good attitude is a key interpersonal skill to demonstrate whether you have the fortitude to motivate yourself to achieve the tasks and projects set for you.

Showcasing a positive attitude towards a potential job opportunity can communicate to future employers that you will strive to do your best and cast that positivity with all stakeholders.

Good interpersonal skills can be the difference in a job interview

When preparing for a job interview, think about what your strengths are in terms of relating to people. Making these interpersonal skills a point of focus can go a long way in edging out the competition and helping you land the job.

If you're still developing some of these skills, demonstrate how you're learning new techniques to deal with some of these every day workplace situations.

How to improve your interpersonal skills

Here are some tips on how you can build your interpersonal skills over time:

  • Hone your communication skills: It may seem like a given that you need to speak and write clearly. Avoid using jargon or technical concepts that are obvious to you, but might be unclear or unfamiliar to others.
  • Learn conflict resolution skills: Disagreements occur in every office. Learning how to calmly sort out issues and find acceptable compromises will aid you throughout your career.
  • Focus on teamwork: Is a colleague working on a major initiative and everything must be completed by next week? Offer to help out if you’re not overloaded yourself. The way to win support is by giving support when it’s needed.
  • Emphasise diplomacy: Always maintain a professional tone when communicating with others. This means never corresponding when you’re angry or frustrated. You could regret it later.

Regardless of your technical expertise, your interpersonal skills are the hallmark of your personal brand and, ultimately, what will set you apart from colleagues. Honing these skills are key to advancing your career.

This article originally appeared as Working the room: how to showcase your interpersonal skills during a job interview on the Robert Half Australia blog.

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