‘And what skills will you bring to this role?’
It’s the question you’re guaranteed to be asked at any job interview. And while your dazzling banter and superb television recommendations are impressive (and let’s be honest, what your colleagues are looking for), there’s a bunch of other skills that are must-mentions if you want to ace your next application or interview. Our friends at SEEK are the experts in this space, and they chatted to two leading recruiters for the low-down on exactly what to demonstrate.
No prizes for guessing the most in-demand skill right now: resilience. The global pandemic presented a myriad of curly challenges, so employers are looking out for people who can try their best to adapt to different situations and handle setbacks with a cool, calm attitude. While resilience might seem like an intangible quality, being able to identify and talk about your capacity to recover from situations and adapt is very valuable when hitting the job market.
So, how do you demonstrate it? Shay Peters, the managing director of Robert Walters New Zealand, suggests using your experience of lockdown as a practical example. “What did you do? How did you stay productive? You want to show employers you have the skill set to deal with unexpected and challenging events.”
Confidence using technology
Tech literacy has always been valued, but with an increasing number of teams working remotely, it’s never been more important. Because while they’re lovely people, you don’t want to be dialling the IT department every half hour. “To stay relevant, companies across all industries are seeking tech-savvy professionals,” says Nicole Gorton, a director at Robert Half in Australia. “Familiarity with tools such as teleconferencing, collaboration platforms, file sharing, remote learning and the ability to organise and deliver virtual events are now essential for many.”
So, how do you demonstrate it? Identify how you use different technologies and explain how they assist your work. You could use examples of tech streamlining communication, and apps that boost productivity and support collaboration and teamwork.
If we learned anything in 2020 it was that the world can change overnight. Only the adaptable and agile businesses were able to survive, and it’s a testament to the agility of their teams.“Hiring managers are looking for employees who can be productive in an environment without necessarily having a blueprint, road map or written process to follow,” Peters says.
So how you demonstrate it? “Teams and roles have undergone a lot of change, so mention how you’ve raised your hand for projects and tasks that are not necessarily part of your job scope,” Gorton suggests. “That’s a great way to highlight you’re a team player who adapts easily to change.”
According to SEEK data*, 42% of Australians learned new skills in 2020 that they wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for COVID-19. Hiring managers are looking for these people, the proactive ones who have taken initiative in learning new skills or seeking out new opportunities.
So, how you demonstrate it? “In an interview, I’d be keen to hear about your achievements separate from your job description,” Peters says.“For example, did you pick up any extra projects or tasks during lockdown? What did you achieve during your downtime? Being able to articulate this gives me an understanding that you didn’t retreat from work during the pandemic, but rather you made an attempt to be energetic and upbeat during a tough situation.”
The ability to understand, manage and express your own emotions (and understand and manage those of the people around you), is one of the best skill you can demonstrate in an interview. Self-awareness teamed with the ability to connect with others are the qualities that can set you apart from the pack.
So, how do you demonstrate emotional intelligence? Talk through workplace challenges you’ve faced, how you handled them and what you learnt from them. People managers could also explain how you’ve taken the time to listen to the concerns of others.
The way we work is changing. Gone are the days of forging a career solely based on tenure or industry rank. Instead, the workforce is evolving to understand the power of transferable skills. Many people are now honing these highly valuable skills – such as communication, collaboration and leadership – to progress their careers and move between roles and industries. While qualifications will always be necessary for certain roles, this focus on skills means we’re no longer measured by years of experience within a particular industry. These transferable skills are opening opportunities for people to pivot their career and bridge traditional entry pathways. Find out more at SEEK.
*Source: Independent research conducted by Nature of behalf of SEEK, interviewing 4800 Australians annually. Published November 2020.