The 10 Skills You Need to Ace an Interview

Your experience and qualifications aren’t enough for making a good impression in an interview.

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

Interview skills

When you’re invited to an interview, it usually means the company thinks your skills are a good match for the job.

But simply having the right job skills and qualifications isn’t enough to ace an interview. You’re going to also need some interview skills so that you can further demonstrate why you’re the best candidate.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top skills you need to demonstrate during your job interview — and land the job.

1. Communication

One of the most important skills needed to be successful in an interview is communication. Although there are various types of communication skills, two of the most important ones for interviews are verbal and nonverbal communication.

To develop your verbal communication skills prior to an interview, practice answering common interview questions in a clear and articulate manner. Avoid using filler words or language that may be too informal for an interview.

One way to improve your nonverbal communication skills during an interview is to mimic the interviewers. Aligning yourself to their body language and formality will enable smoother communication and help demonstrate that you would be a good fit in the company.

2. Research

One of the biggest recruitment red flags is when a candidate doesn’t have knowledge of what the company does. Typically, interviewers assess this by asking candidates what they’ve learned about the company. So, in order to show that you prepared for the interview, it’s important to do some research in advance.

Learning about the company’s products, mission and culture will show the interviewers that you did your homework and that you’re enthusiastic about the job. You can research the company through browsing their website, looking through their social media channels, and seeing if the company recently made the news.

3. Punctuality

Showing up late is a sure-fire way to get an interview off to a bad start. It could signal to the interviewers that you didn’t plan ahead, don’t care enough to show up on time or, worse, that you’re not dependable. Therefore, forming a habit of being on time, or punctuality, is a key skill to ace an interview.

One easy way to develop punctuality is to plan for more time than you expect to need. For example, if the map on your phone says it takes 20 minutes to get to the location of the interview, act as though it takes 30. This way, you have a buffer in case there’s traffic or any other unexpected delays.

4. Professionalism

Professionalism refers to the conduct and attitudes that are expected of a worker. It encompasses a wide range of skills that can help you in nearly every area of your career. However, it’s a particularly important skill for interviews when you’ll need to make a good first impression.

Although there are many aspects of professionalism, when it comes to exhibiting this skill in an interview, you’ll want to focus on how you present yourself and behave towards the interviewers. Being well-groomed, dressing for the role and showing deference will all go a long way in demonstrating your professionalism.

5. Storytelling

Stories have a way of stimulating our minds, building connection and engaging our emotions. So, in order to ace your next interview, you’re going to need to be able to tell a good story.

Now you don’t have to develop Homeric storytelling skills for your next interview. However, you should be able to tell a story in a way that is engaging, interesting and professional.

One of the most effective ways to tell a story during an interview is by using the STAR method. This will ensure that when you talk about your previous experiences, your stories stay focused, concise, and provide the interviewers with the information they’re looking for.

6. Self-awareness

Self-awareness is one of the most important workplace skills. It allows you to more effectively collaborate with others, spot your weaknesses and foster better relationships. As it is key for performance, interviewers will want to see you demonstrate this skill.

Some of the best ways to develop self-awareness prior to an interview is by reflecting on your past objectively and asking others for feedback. This will give you more insight into yourself, which you’ll then be able to express in the interview.

7. Active listening

Taking your listening skills up a notch to the level of active listening is a great skill to have in order ace your next interview. Active listening enables you to take in the entire message that is being communicated. It also shows the interviewer that you’re fully interested in them and that your thoughts aren’t elsewhere.

Although active listening takes some practice, you can start by making a habit of fully focusing on what the interviewer is saying, and not already thinking about how you will respond. Nodding is another way to demonstrate that you’re actively listening, as it shows that you understand and are following along with what the interviewer is saying.

8. Gratitude

Although gratitude is an emotion, it’s also a skill that can be cultivated. And when it comes to interviews, it’s an important skill to have. Since gratitude is closely associated with happiness, it demonstrates to the interviewer that you have a positive attitude and will be a pleasant colleague to work with.

While most candidates know to say “thank you” at the closing of the interview, there are a few other ways you can show gratitude. For example, sending a “thank you” email after the interview is an extra way of showing appreciation. When asked about your professional experiences, this is also a chance to express gratitude for past employers or opportunities.

9. Business acumen

Although business acumen is typically a skill that develops through experience in an industry or field, career starters can also develop it. Even if you’re interviewing for an entry-level role, you’ll still want to demonstrate to your interviewers that you possess some business acumen.

Although you may have already researched the company, business acumen involves developing a deeper understanding of the wider industry and business. For example, if you’re interviewing for an entry-level sales role, asking a strategic question (such as about their sales funnel) will show the interviewer you possess some degree of business acumen.

10. Confidence

Typically, confidence is considered an attribute that an individual either has or doesn’t have. However, it’s a skill that can be developed over time. It’s also a skill that interviewers will want to see, as it shows that you have trust in yourself — which can lead to higher job performance.

Although it can take time to develop confidence, there are some ways to increase this skill prior to an interview. As confidence is built through accomplishments, think back on goals you’ve achieved and times when you felt successful. Reflecting on prior accomplishments will give you that confidence boost you need to ace your interview.

Final thoughts

Interviews are challenging enough. So, you wouldn’t want to show up to one unequipped with the skills needed to succeed. By developing the 10 skills listed above, you can be sure to stand out as a star candidate and improve your chances of getting a job offer.

Got a question, or think we’ve missed something? Let us know in the comments section below.