Let’s be honest about it – almost everyone hates having to go through the job interview. Why should one’s fate be placed solely in the hands of one or a few more senior people seated across the room?
Unfair as it seems, there really is no escaping the much dreaded job interview. Unless you want to remain unemployed, it is inevitable that you learn how to increase your chances of landing that dream job.
Often billed as the highlight of the entire hiring process, let’s make the interview work to your advantage.
In order to do that, I will first have to share with you the 3 most valued work skills every interview candidate should possess. I drew this important conclusion after having taught thousands of participants in my interview skills workshops over the years, ranging from graduating students, ORD personnel to PMETs.
Work Skill #1: Communication
It certainly isn’t surprising that communication ranks as the most valued work skill.
In today’s digital age, where everything is happening twice as fast and people are attempting to multi-task all the time, it is not uncommon for misunderstandings to arise constantly.
This is because many people have forgotten about the basics. And the most rudimentary of them all is that communication is the most important skill to possess.
Regardless of the occasion, one needs to have good verbal and written communication. Whatever the medium is (i.e. face-to-face interaction, telephone conversation, text messaging or sending an email), if communication is lacking, the task cannot be completed according to the expectations.
We need to communicate effectively so that we present our ideas, thoughts, proposals and concepts forward.
Similarly in an interview setting, if you cannot communicate effectively and bring across the message you want to convey, you have just jeopardized your own chances of being hired.
These are the 3 types of candidates I will never hire.
• The mumbling ones – This is not the time for you to swallow your words. Quick tip: Speak slowly and speak clearly.
• The Singlish speaking ones – Much as I adore Singlish for all its quirkiness and colloquialisms that reminds me that this is home indeed, but this is not the right occasion to use it. Quick tip: Only Standard English will make the cut in a job interview and portray you as a polished and professional candidate.
• The too impressive ones – There is no need to use big words just to impress the interviewers. If done too extreme, you may be viewed as a show-off. Quick tip: Speak simply. When you speak simply, everyone understands what you are saying. And you minimize any form of miscommunication.
Work Skill #2: Teamwork
Coming in a close second is teamwork.
Remember, no man is an island. And the acronym TEAM means “together everyone achieves more”.
As an employer myself, I value teamwork greatly. In fact, I value teamwork more than technical skills like computer skills, photography or graphic design. The reason is simple – you can learn technical skills. But you cannot learn teamwork. It’s either you have teamwork or you don’t. There are no two ways about it.
If you have done the DISC personality profiling tool, you will know only certain groups of people should be put together in the same project so that progress is expedited. And too many similar characters in the same team will impede progress.
I will never hire someone who is so full of himself and who has challenges working together with others in the same team.
In the interview, you can demonstrate the teamwork quality by sharing past experiences of how you have teamed with others (whether it is during your schooling days or past job) to complete a task at hand and the results you achieved.
Work Skill #3: Leadership
Rounding up the top three work skills is leadership.
Leadership has been studied, scrutinized and immortalized over the years. Companies move from good to great largely because of a charismatic leadership. Take the case of Apple. Many thought Apple would crumble after the demise of Steve Jobs. Ironically, Apple has grown to become the most valuable company in the world with a market capitalization of over $750 billion under Jobs’ successor Tim Cook.
Leaders take initiative and step up in trying times. Knowing he had super big shoes to fill and expectations to live up to, Cook still did it. He did it his way.
It is an open secret that in any organisation, senior management will always be on the lookout to groom potential staff for leadership positions.
So if you were a sergeant or platoon commander back in your national service days; held an official position in your CCA (e.g. chairman, treasurer etc) or were a student councilor; it is time you highlight your achievements during the interview.
The world is made up of human beings. Naturally, in order to climb the ladder of success in life, we have to depend on transferrable work skills.
All the best in your job interview =)