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  • Writer's pictureJay Metcalf

Interview Prep Series Part 3: Skills Review

Updated: May 22, 2023

First and foremost - it is important to remember that it is relatively rare to find yourself in an interview where your skills and background are not at least something of a fit for the job. Unless your resume is a creative work of fiction, the recruiter and/or hiring manager believe that there is a good chance that you can do the job. Simply put, they wouldn’t waste their time with you if they thought otherwise.

With that in mind, let’s talk about what is actually in question in an interview. I have a bonus prep series post on the 3 interview questions that you should also check out here. Once you have landed the interview, you need to spend some time with the job description.

Personally, I recommend printing it out so you can highlight it, take notes on it, etc. There are 2 types of skills you will see in a job description - hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are things like “3+ years of experience in GAAP accounting” or “Strong MS Excel skills.” You should be prepared to talk about these and what positions you performed these functions. Part 4 will talk about using examples to help set you apart from other candidates.

Soft skills are things that are a little more difficult to pinpoint in an interview setting. These aren’t going to be as easily verified as doing an Excel proficiency test for example. Examples of soft skills would be ‘Team Player’ or ‘able to develop long term relationships with clients.’ For soft skills on a job description, you need to think of specific examples or anecdotes when you have been a team player or built a relationship. Your ability to communicate those stories effectively will depend on thinking ahead and being ready to hit those points with the interviewer.

A final tip here - look at LinkedIn. It is often helpful to look at the work history of other people who have held the role before you. Frequently, with a little searching, you can find someone and get an idea of what your prospective employer has hired in the past.

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