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Aligning your experiences and skills to what the job requires is essential to interview preparation, according to Labtuit. When reading a job description, don’t simply scan the requirements. We need to look for two specific types of qualifications: soft skills and hard skills.
Soft skills are how you function in the workplace and how you work, such as teamwork, leadership and communication.
Hard skills are things that are easy to quantify or that are easy to prove that one has them, such as language fluency, a certain degree or technical skills such as HTML coding.
During the job interview, Labtuit suggests that you’re prepared to give an example/story and/or summary of how your experience and skills relate to each qualification in the job description. Below is an example of a job description for a Google position (hard skills are highlighted in bold and soft skills are highlighted in italics).
Minimum qualifications: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent practical experience.
4 years of experience working in strategy and operations, consulting, finance, marketing, analytics or related fields.
Demonstrated experience in managing and building internal and external partnerships.
Experience initiating, piloting, and scaling projects that require data-driven problem solving.
Preferred qualifications: Background in data science, research and/or academic studies.
Experience using SQL to generate insights and drive complex business decision making.
Experience in the nonprofit or public policy space. Experience working in online advertising, with strong Google Ads product knowledge.
Track record of combining excellent business acumen with strong operational rigor.
Using an example of a skill highlighted in bold, such as SQL in the description above, be prepared to talk about your specific work experience/skills with respect to SQL.
Using an example of a skill highlighted in italics, such as the
“generate insights and drive complex business decision making” example above, the interviewer may ask something like,
“Provide examples of times you extracted actionable insights from data,” or,“
Provide examples of your experience with data analysis and insights generation.”
Labtuit says to expect some of your interview questions to be derived from the qualifications/skills highlighted in the job description and be prepared to answer these with examples.
When you have an upcoming interview, look through the job qualifications one by one, and prepare an answer to how your experience and skills match each of these qualifications. This may seem like an obvious exercise, but we’ve seen top-notch candidates perform poorly in this due to poor preparation.
Labtuit.com Tip: We also recommend you look through the job description itself (not just qualifications) as sometimes, the interviewer will ask how your experience or skills align with an aspect of the job description (even if it wasn’t in the qualifications section)
To give stronger answers to such questions, please read this article for helpful tips.
What if you realize you do not have a particular skill/experience that the job description asks for? Here are best practices on how to manage this:
Share the closest experience you do have. For example, you may not have expertise in an expected programming language, but you may be familiar with a similar one. Or, you may not have marketing experience but you have sales experience where you were exposed to marketing material.
State that you are a fast learner and willing to put in the extra time and effort to learn this new skills or get this new experience and (very briefly) give specific examples of past work where you learned a new skill faster than expected and how.
While I don’t have this skill (or experience), I am a very fast learner and willing to put in the extra work to make up for this. For example, in my last position, I had to learn how to use SQL without having any prior exposure to it. I watched online material every single weekend and in the morning before work. In 3 weeks, I was using SQL as effectively as my colleagues were.
Never answer a skill-based question with a flat “no” if you do not have a particular skill. Always answer using one of the two methods listed above. This shows confidence in your experience.
Labtuit.com Tip: Please don’t pretend you have a skill or are familiar with something when you’re not. But at the same time, when you get asked “what experience do you have with X” and you don’t have any experience, if you follow the above method, you’ll frame your lack of experience in a positive light.
Labtuit is a Silicon Valley-based startup that helps professionals and recent grads land the right job (get the position and pay they deserve). We’ve helped candidates land at great companies such as Google, eBay and Boston Consulting Group. We are founded by a Harvard PhD, ex-Uber and ex-McKinsey. Everyone lands a job but most don’t land the right job. For example, a Software Engineer we’ve helped was happy with a 150K position, but we helped him land a senior Engineer position at 190K. We rewrite resumes to make them stand out, give our users mock interviews (role-related/technical and behavioral), and guide them on getting referrals.
Because we aim to give to the 99% what the 1% has — top-notch career advising- the service is free until the candidate lands a job. After the candidate starts work, we charge 2% of the first-year base salary to be paid in 3 installments. The goal at Labtuit is for our service to pay for itself from the improvement in the offers that the candidate gets. To learn more, visit labtuit.com.