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 instill 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. Following are three interpersonal skills that will dazzle just about any potential employer and how you can demonstrate them during a job interview:

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.

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. 

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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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