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Soft Skills Are the Key to Landing Your Dream Job, According to a LinkedIn Survey. Here’s How Employers Are Assessing Them Today

As a recruiter, I’ll be the first to admit that the job search process is crazy.

In the past, as long as you had a resume, could fill out an application and regurgitated your technical experience in an interview, you were golden. Nowadays, you have to worry about designing resumes for applicant tracking systems, optimizing your LinkedIn profile with keywords, using Skype and video conferencing tools, and passing behavioral and aptitude assessments. 

To further complicate things, with advancements in recruitment technology, you’re not only competing against candidates in your local market, but also with top talent around the globe. The pressure to perform has never been higher. 

With all of the added technology and steps to the recruiting cycle, it’s easy to get lost in the process. As a result, you put too much of an emphasis on one aspect, and completely neglect the others. 

Case in point, the significance of your resume vs. your interview performance. 

Although resume techniques are forever changing, it is still the most crucial step to getting your foot in the door. However, that’s where it stops. A resume’s job is to get you an interview, and your performance in that interview gets you the job. Unfortunately, many rely too heavily on their resume and don’t prepare accordingly for their face-to-face conversations. 

Performing well in-person has changed. Rather than focusing on your resume and past experiences, interviewers are more concerned with your ability to interact and communicate with others. They are more concerned with your soft skills. 

Whereas technical abilities are easier to teach, the intangible interpersonal skills are not (traits like creativity, collaboration, self-awareness, adaptability, and communication). That’s why many organizations are going to great lengths to uncover them. 

In LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends Report, 5,000 talent professionals disclosed five methods they use to discover and asses soft skills. I’ve highlighted the top three and added my personal recruiting experience to each.  

1. Asking behavior questions. 

The belief behind asking behavioral based questions is that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. To uncover the habits that employers are looking for, interviewers will ask you questions like “Tell me about the last time you had to work with someone who had a different work style than yours,” or “Describe a time in which you needed to learn a new skill.” 

These questions seem innocent, but know that employers are analyzing your every word. 

In my opinion, this is where you should spend the majority of your time preparing for an interview. It offers candidates the opportunity to showcase their soft skills and differentiate themselves through experiences unique to them. 

2. Reading body language. 

The famous 7 percent rule, introduced by Dr. Albert Mehrabian author of Silent Messages, suggests that only 7 percent of every message is conveyed through words. The remaining 93 percent is non-verbal and chalked up to things like posture, body language, facial expressions, and eye-contact.

Long story short, if your body language doesn’t line up with your message, then you’ll come across as insincere, shady, or even manipulative. 

A good rule of thumb is to act like you’re engaged in the conversation. Ask great follow up questions, maintain eye contact, nod your head to indicated that you’re listening and don’t fidget. 

3. Asking situation questions. 

I like to refer to these as hypothetical questions. In other words, interviewers will throw you into hypothetical situations to evaluate how you navigate and troubleshoot important matters. The questions typically start the same way, “What would you do if…” 

The goal is to highlight your problem solving capabilities while emphasizing important soft skills like teamwork. 

There is no linear formula to acing interviews. However, understanding the significance of each element will help you better prepare. A resume gets you the interview. The rest is contingent upon your interviewing performance. Luckily, LinkedIn’s reseach helped us narrow in on a few of the intangibles that employers are looking for. 

This article is from Inc.com