Three areas you should upskill in before a job interview

If you’re preparing for a job interview, congratulations – you’ve completed the first step towards securing a new role. Getting through the first filter of applications means that you’ve demonstrated some of the skills that the hiring manager is looking for, and the interview is a chance for you to expand on these further.

As well as role-specific questions, the interviewer will be looking to see if you have general business skills that will stand you in good stead for success. These will vary depending on the level of the role that you are applying for, but there are some widely applicable traits that will be appealing for all candidates. In this article, we explain three of the key areas that you should upskill in to strengthen your application.

Digital literacy

There’s no escaping the fact that technology has become essential for almost every job. From customer service to complex forecasting using artificial intelligence (AI), computers are at the heart of every business, streamlining workflows and increasing productivity. Therefore, it’s essential that you’re confident with at least basic computer skills. Whilst many people will have grown up with computers, if you’re changing roles after a long time or are re-entering the workforce, you may need to brush up on your knowledge.

Even if you consider yourself to be computer-savvy, you should take some time to expand your knowledge of best practices when it comes to password and email security. Scams are growing ever-more sophisticated, and workers can be easily caught out, leading to heavy fines of up to €20 million for GDPR breaches in the EU.

Leadership skills

Whether you’re applying for a management role or not, there’s plenty of benefit to be had from polishing your leadership skills. Perhaps you’ll need to take the lead on a project, or with a certain client – these transferable skills aren’t just useful for managing people.

Communication, negotiation, conflict resolution, adaptability and critical thinking are key areas to focus on, amongst others. These can be developed in your current role, but also via courses, webinars, mentoring and further reading or podcasts, so there’s an option for everyone. If you’re applying for a junior role, you may think that learning these skills isn’t necessary yet, but showing interest can indicate that you’re committed to your development and future career.

For an interviewer, this means that you’re someone who is likely to stay and progress with the company if the opportunity arises. With employee turnover costing around 33% of an employee’s salary on average, it’s a risk that employers are keen to reduce.

Collaboration and teamwork

Collaboration is an essential part of modern job roles, especially with so many of us now working from home or in a hybrid arrangement. You’ll not only need to be able to work with your immediate team, but also likely with other teams and potentially freelancers or contractors too. It’s essential that you master the art of collaboration to ensure that the business workflow runs smoothly and any issues are dealt with in a fair and timely manner.

Teamwork is a common area of discussion in any interview, so make sure you come prepared with examples to support your skills. Employers are looking for people who will fit well into the existing process and team – new ideas are welcome, but generally companies don’t want someone who wants to rip up the rulebook on day one.

Strengthen your case

By developing these key skills, you’ll stand yourself in good stead going into an interview. Make sure that you read through the job description thoroughly, and think about how you meet the requirements so that you’re prepared. Then remember to be yourself – it’s important for your potential employer to get to know you, and vice versa, so you can decide if the job is the right fit.

About the Author:

An experienced HR professional, Hannah has overseen the hiring of plenty of employees. She aims to reduce anxiety around the interview process by sharing her top tips, giving the reader confidence to show off their best self.


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