Nearly all studies and surveys about what companies are looking for in their next hire result in the same top answer: communication. Employers need to know that a person can effectively communicate with others in order to complete tasks, make improvements, develop culture, create change, and many other things.
The first way employers will begin determining communication skills occurs in the interview. More and more interviewers are asking candidates vague questions. This is not because the hiring authorities do not know what they want to ask, it is because they want to know if a candidate can provide them the information they need.
In the past, many interviewers would ask something like “Tell me about a time you managed people and if it went well.” Now they will say something more like “Have you managed people?” While these questions may seem very different, it is more than likely that they are looking for the same kind of answer. The employer still needs to know if a candidate can manage people and how they did it, but they are also using the question to gauge the candidate’s communication skills.
This is the time for a candidate to show the employer that they are not only qualified for the job, but they bring excellent communications skills to the table as well. If a candidate answers “Yes” to the second version of the question, they are technically answering what was asked of them. However, a candidate could answer, “Yes, I have. At my current position I manage a team of 6 individuals who each have at least three reports. I have had to resolve conflicts and help make group changes. It is an environment I have really enjoyed and have also learned a lot from.” This answer gives the hiring authority detail that a simple “yes” did not. It shows that the candidate has real applicable skills and can communicate that clearly.
In your next interview, be sure to listen for opportunities like the one described here and showcase your communication skills when you can.
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