How to talk about your soft skills in an interview

A study published in 2019 revealed that 97% of companies believe that soft skills have a vital place in a job interview

So how do you present your soft skills to convince a recruiter to bring you on-board?

The time for soft skills has come

Once upon a time, only your diploma or degree was enough to guarantee you got the job.  Accelerated changes in the professional world linked to technology, robotics, and artificial intelligence have pushed the acquisition of hard skills to the background.  Technical skills have become less and less important. 

Today, recruiters want candidates who are able to evolve at the same rate as their professional environment. More and more companies are eager to hire a person who has only a part of the hard skills associated with the job, but who they feel will be able to constantly develop their learning capacity because they have an open mind.

Identify non-measurable qualities

52% of recruiters believe candidates respond with difficulty on questions concerning their personality. Preparation  for the interview is crucial. Indeed, recognizing your soft skills is a delicate process because it involves knowing yourself. And this knowledge depends on professional maturity. If the candidate knows his soft skills , it is up to him to select those related to the job for which he is applying and to provide a specific example. 

The exercise can be more complicated if you are not fully aware of your personal qualities. “  The best is plan is to ask your entourage (friends, spouse, parents) what personal qualities define you; the candidate. We can also do online personality tests to better understand these qualities. It is best to identify three soft skills with an example for each: examples that you can then develop during the interview  ”.

The start of the interview

Do not think that the demonstration of your soft skills starts when you review your past job experiences. It begins as soon as you arrive and continues for the duration of the interview.  We only get one chance to make a first impression. The soft skills of a candidate can also be detected in his posture, his gestures, his handshake or his ability to listen. Here again, we must bet on sincerity. There is no point in wanting to invent a personality. The truth always ends up resurfacing.

Show meaningful examples

It is the contextualization of soft skills that impacts the recruiter. The challenge is to be able to display one’s qualities without appearing pretentious . To avoid falling into the “me and  I” and to remain humble, Donald recommends starting your sentences as follows:  People often say about me…  ” or “My experience gives me the feeling of having developed this quality…  ”. Then, each soft skill must be based on an example to help the recruiter to better understand the candidate.

“I was able to manage a conflict in my team in the following way” shows a candidate endowed with qualities of listening and empathy. ” My boss fell ill, I was able to manage the increase in activity and set up a new process ”depicts a talent who knows how to rise and adapt to the challenge.

Sometimes the required answers are simple and do not require a PHD in philosophy. “How do you deal with stress? I take a break and breathe”. Here is a candidate who has clear ideas and knows how to take a step back. But what about the young graduate with little professional experience? “He can draw on his personal experience, a sport, a hobby, a passion, as as long as he can place it within the context of his/her professional world. A young person who has worked in an association demonstrates a sense of the collective, one who has been captain of a football team shows leadership.  

Concluding the interview

Donald emphasizes that the interview also allows the candidate to measure his adaptability to this working environment.  The job interview is a meeting of equals and the end of the interview is a key moment. The candidate should not be afraid to challenge the recruiter by asking him questions about the company. What about the project mentioned on your site? How does the organization of the company work, what is the management culture? In so doing, the candidate displays his decision-making abilities and shows that he is committed. Do not underestimate curiosity, it is a soft skill much appreciated by recruiters.