Everything Veterans need to know about soft skills in job interviews

As veterans move from military careers into civilian life, they bring a wealth of skills and experiences to the job market, which includes their specialized training, education, and leadership ability. These skills may qualify someone for a job, but employers are looking for more than just technical ability.

Every job opening generates a long list of technically qualified candidates, but employers are also looking for people who are compatible with their company. They value applicants who will fit in with their culture and will smoothly integrate into their workforce.

To gauge this, they look at so-called “soft skills,” traits that indicate a candidate’s ability to work with others while enabling effective communication, collaboration, and relationship-building. As a member of the military community, you have these skills; Here’s how to use them and stand out from the competition.

The Power of Soft Skills

Soft skills play a crucial role in demonstrating compatibility and help hiring companies better predict the probability of successful integration. Luckily, most veterans spend years developing these attributes in the military.

Skills like active listening, collaboration, relationship-building, and effective communication are almost as foundational to military service as proper uniform wear. Whether giving, receiving, or interpreting an operations order or engaging with local populations to facilitate relationships and mission success, service members are constantly applying these skills in their military careers—and veterans should be demonstrating them during job interviews.

Applying soft skills in an interview highlights a candidate’s compatibility while showing they understand a hiring manager’s needs, concerns, and expectations. Active listening can help demonstrate genuine interest and increase engagement during an interview.

Next Level Interviews

Showcasing personality and character is crucial but nailing these soft skills goes beyond simply answering questions. Veterans with strong communication skills can convey their ideas clearly, build rapport with interviewers, and articulate how their military experience translates to the civilian workplace.

Veterans who exhibit characteristics that resonate with an organization’s values and culture are more likely to successfully integrate, foster a positive work environment, and achieve long-term success—and are thus more likely to get an offer.

Soft Skills in Hiring

Soft skills are not just how candidates win interviews, it’s also how companies win candidates during a hiring process. A candidate’s experience during an interview process directly correlates to their likelihood of accepting a position. Hiring managers who connect with candidates and promote a positive interview experience are 38 percent more likely to secure their top candidate.

When interviewers employ soft skills like empathy, active listening, and a welcoming atmosphere, they can help candidates feel more comfortable in speaking about their experience during the interview process. This creates trust and builds rapport, allowing hiring managers to truly see a candidate’s personality and candidates to get a feel for culture at the company.

Beyond the Interview

Soft skills are essential for veterans and hiring companies alike. Both can experience equal opportunities for success. Companies can play a crucial role in supporting veterans’ transition into civilian employment by providing tailored training and onboarding programs that help veterans adapt their military experience to the civilian workplace. They will not only gain skilled and motivated employees but also demonstrate their commitment to supporting the military community.

Looking for more tips? Leverage resources on the RecruitMilitary Job Seeker Blog to increase your marketability and success in the job market.

Shawn Gardner is a U.S. Army Veteran and RecruitMilitary Account Executive.