Why aren't you getting hired?

Posted December 29, 2014

How many times has this happened to you? You apply for a job for which you are extremely qualified. You send in a targeted resume with a great cover letter, you get the interview, but time and time again you get passed up for the position. Could it be that you're just not coming across as someone they want to hire? What could be the problem?

During an interview, employers not only evaluate your experience, they also evaluate your soft skills—attitude, communication abilities, time management, critical thinking and work ethic. Here's how to highlight these qualities during an interview.

  • Attitude: Make sure you're coming across as a positive person. Not everyone is bubbly or upbeat, but you can smile when you shake hands and try to speak with livelier intonation or expression. You can also give examples during the interview about how you helped motivate colleagues or improved employee morale.
  • Communication: Almost every job posting says you need good communication skills. This is the time to show it. Demonstrate how well you communicate with your conversation skills, your ability to tell a story, and the way you answer questions. Usie the CAR (Challenge, Action, Result) method to give examples of a time when you were challenged to do XX and the action you took was XX, which resulted in XX. This will help you bring forward additional strengths and successes that aren't on our resume and show that you can communicate clearly and succinctly.
  • Time management: Employers want to see that you know how to manage your time, tasks and responsibilities effectively. Show that you know how to prioritize your work, delegate when necessary and get things done on time.
  • Critical thinking/problem-solving: When telling your accomplishment stories, be sure to highlight your ability to come up with efficient and effective solutions to problems you've faced on the job.
  • Work ethic: Give examples about how you gave 110% to a project that generated positive results, how you always complete projects on time and within budget, how your persistence helped your team or company to achieve its goals. Bring up the company's mission and vision and explain why you want to help the organization succeed.

Figure out which soft skills you already have and which skills you need to enhance, and start highlighting them in your interviews. Hard skills will qualify you for the job, but soft skills will help you land it.