In America, just 2% of job applicants are invited for an interview. These days, skills-based interviews are commonplace, primarily testing your ability rather than discussing your experience to date. Strong communication skills are key for all roles, particularly for leadership positions. However, it is vital to demonstrate the skills required for each job you are applying for, first in your resume and then the interview itself. This sort of preparation can be the difference between securing an interview or having your resume join the majority of others in the shredder.
It’s the skills that matter
Experience in the field you are applying for is clearly helpful, but having the relevant skills is what matters most. Identify the skills needed for the role and make sure your resume demonstrates these skills. Layout is important. For instance, under each role, list the skills in bold, followed by examples of how you used these skills. Say, for example, you are an experienced teacher applying for a non-teaching position that requires excellent time-management skills. You could show that you have the skills as follows:
Time-Management skills: Planning multiple lessons, marking homework for different classes and answering work-related emails on a daily basis.
This immediately calls to mind a key skill required for the role, with the different, time-sensitive tasks carried out every day showing your ability to time manage effectively. Meanwhile, using keywords from the job specification not only shows your suitability for the role, but also makes it more likely that you will get around Automatic Tracking Systems that may have been used in the application process.
Doing yourself justice in the interview
When it comes to preparing for the interview, attempt to fully understand the skills mentioned in the job specification and jot down potential scenarios in which you might need to show these skills. Skills-based interviews often involve you having to demonstrate skills in an actual situation. For example, you may need to be able to show strong problem-solving skills. One well-known scenario is being shown a big box of balls, and to state in a given amount of time, how many balls are in the box. The important thing is not whether you get the answer right, but more how you go about approaching the problem and finding a solution.
Practice plenty but stay relaxed
Practice really can make perfect when it comes to an interview. This can be done by asking friends and family members to come up with tasks based on the skills required for the job you are interviewing for. Then make sure to ask them their feedback on your body language. Body language plays a huge part in whether you are offered a job; A third of employers know within 90 seconds whether they will hire you or not, solely based on your body language. Practice as much as you can, but not too much; some nerves are good and will show the real you, as opposed to a more unrealistic version of yourself.
Skills-based interviews: Preparation is key
Give yourself the best chance of nailing a job interview by focusing on the key skills required and being able to demonstrate that you have these skills. This means knowing your resume inside out and practicing potential skills-based scenarios. Try to relax as much as possible and enjoy it. Whatever happens, you will learn something valuable from the experience.