Job seeking: the skills you need for your next interview

Last updated: July 14, 2024
Trending post
Heath Alva
Community SpecialistBullet point
Community Specialist
Facebook share linkTwitter share link
Job seeking: the skills you need for your next interview
Jump to section

Even if you have a strong resume and are great at what you do, getting past the job interview isn’t always a guarantee. Some people seem to have a natural ability to ace the interview process, but most of the time, it comes down to skill rather than luck. The fact is, you can work on certain areas to improve your chances of getting the job.

But what skills do you need? What will make a hiring manager take notice of you for all of the right reasons?

Get ready because we're about to share our top interview tips. We'll also discuss the skills that recruiters expect, including good body language, communication, and punctuality.

What skills do you need for a job interview?

Interviews usually run for less than an hour, and you should use this time wisely. Make a good first impression by showcasing the skills you’d need for the job.

What skills do you need? We’ll go into these in more detail, but the list includes reliability, organization, verbal and nonverbal communication, presentation, and a positive attitude.

(Image Source)

Be prepared for the interview questions

Recruiters will be looking to see whether you can answer their questions with confidence. The words you choose, your expressions, and your tone of voice can all make a difference. For example, if you feel flustered and answer “I don’t know” to the interview question, you could ruin your chances of getting the job.

Preparation is the best way to avoid brain fog. This means working on your answers ahead of time and practicing with a friend. You can talk about your experience, work ethic, interpersonal skills, and soft skills. When you know what you want to say and how to say it, confidence will follow. Remember, no one knows your work experience better than you do, so get ready to promote yourself.

10 commonly asked interview questions

To help you prepare for your next job interview, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions. Recruiters will use your answers to determine whether you have the right skills for the position:

  1. Tell me about yourself

  2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

  3. What are your strengths?

  4. What is your greatest weakness?

  5. Why should we hire you for this position?

  6. Give us an example of a time when you showed leadership skills?

  7. How would your previous work colleagues describe you?

  8. Why do you want to work here?

  9. How did you hear about this job?

  10. Do you have any questions?

How long should you take to prepare for an interview?

We recommend allocating 6–10 hours for preparation in the lead-up to the interview. You should research the company, practice your answers, and decide what to wear. You should also give yourself at least one hour before the interview to revise your strategy so that potential questions and answers are fresh in your mind.

Pay attention to your body language

Body language is often subconscious, but the way you sit and stand can have an impact on how you look to the hiring manager. For example, crossing your arms can make you appear closed and defensive while touching your face will show that you are uncomfortable.

When you are aware of your posture, hand movements, and facial expressions, you can change bad habits. For example, don’t walk into the interview, give the recruiter a high five, then sit on the desk. Instead, be polite and greet them with a friendly smile and a firm handshake.

And don’t forget to look at them from time to time.

Did you know 67% of job seekers forget to make eye contact? This is a pet peeve of many hiring managers and is a skill you can master with practice. Body language is subtle, but it creates the first impression. The way your body is positioned can make someone feel at ease or make them run in the opposite direction. If the interviewer is uncomfortable, how will customers and colleagues feel if they need to approach you?

(Image Source)

Show off your communication skills

Good communication can be a balancing act. Try to be confident and knowledgeable, but not rude or overly familiar. Choose your words carefully and be clear about what you have to say. Always use appropriate language. For example, if a word, phrase, or joke has the potential to cause offense, then you should avoid saying it.

In your answers, you can address times when you've demonstrated desirable skills listed in the job description. These might include teamwork, leadership, communication, and problem-solving.

How can you prove to the hiring manager you have the skills they’re looking for?

The skills you need to be successful in an interview are often the same skills you need to get the job done. Let’s take a look at five key things you’ll need to nail if you want to get past the interview.

1. Be on time

You only get one chance at a job interview. Running late or missing the appointment altogether will make the hiring manager think you are unreliable. The ideal time to walk in the door is five to 10 minutes before the interview. Any earlier than 15 minutes can feel awkward.

Plan your route beforehand and ensure you have reliable transport. If you arrive too early, go for a walk or have a coffee while you compose your thoughts.

(Image Source)

2. Present your best selfBe well presented

Hiring managers are looking for people who will be the faces of their brand. If you’re a job seeker, always look your best for an interview. Wash your hair, iron your clothes, and don’t forget deodorant.

Depending on the job, the dress code might be business casual or business formal. If you’re unsure, it’s always better to be too formal than underdressed. Sneakers, t-shirts, and denim are not appropriate attire for a job interview.

3. Be a good listener

The ability to listen is a valuable life skill. It is something recruiters often look for. This is particularly true in industries where customer service is a priority. If you talk a mile-a-minute without taking a breath, you may misinterpret the questions. Or even worse, you may interrupt the hiring manager.

Remind yourself during the interview to pause, listen, and adapt your answers to keep the conversation flowing.

4. Be organized

An organized employee is a good employee. Prove you are the right fit for the company by being ready for the interview. This means having a printed copy of any paperwork, such as your cover letter and resume, with you. Use the restroom before the interview. While you’re there, check that there is nothing stuck between your teeth. You can bring a bottle of water with you in case your mouth gets dry.

5. Be assertive

A positive attitude will be appealing to employers. Remember to be assertive and not aggressive. Assertive and loud aren’t the same thing. Think about how you’d speak to a customer and try to replicate this. For example, you should be clear, confident, and diplomatic.

Even if an interview isn’t going well or the job isn’t right for you, try to be polite and not defensive. You never know what other opportunities might open up because of the meeting.

The interview skills that every job seeker should have

The next time you are asked for an interview, think about the skills you need to be successful. Often, the skills and attributes companies are looking for can be demonstrated when you first meet. Before the day, take time to research the position and prepare your answers to common interview questions.

Communication, body language, presentation, punctuality, listening, and organization are a few of the key skills that you should focus on. By implementing a few simple strategies and choosing your words carefully, you’ll be a pro at your next interview.

If you’re ready to start your job-seeking journey, start by searching for jobs near you.



Melissa Smith
Bullet point
Office Manager at American Red Cross

Don't play with your cellphone during the interview.

Darryl Hartley
Bullet point

Turn off the radio

Bruce Babin
Bullet point
Asst Superintendant at Smurfit Stone

Ask yourself if you would hire you if you were a manager.