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Show an interviewer you have the ‘X’ factor. Here’s how

Today’s marketplace is crowded with excellent candidates. You have reached interview stage and have the opportunity to rise above your competition. Think your experience is all you need? Wrong! Your innate, intangible qualities will make enormous impact.

What are these distinguishing skills? And how can you demonstrate them in a time-limited, confined situation?

To help you, we have identified the top ten 10 intangible skills with which our successful candidates have most impressed interviewers. We also suggest how you can most effectively weave them into your interview.

Master these, and you will be irresistible to potential employers.


Pleasant manner

No-one wants Gordon Gecko on their team. Kindness is a far more valuable asset to a team than ruthlessness. For this quality, actions are louder than words. How you treat everyone you interact with at your target company will speak volumes to your interviewer.



Awareness of how you communicate with all members of your team, other teams and other parties you encounter in your role is vital. Empathy will nurture better relationships, smoother running projects and a stronger working environment.

Prepare in advance examples demonstrating you understand the target company’s pain points and requirements, and suggest how you will help overcome them and add value.


Optimistic attitude

Not only will an optimistic person pick up tough assignments or challenges which others may balk at, but they will be invaluable motivator in a team when things aren’t rosy. Let your natural optimism and enthusiasm shine through by giving examples of your positivity at work.



This is not an easy intangible quality to prove. You need to demonstrate to the interviewer that you are honest and will acknowledge the contributions of others. It is crucial in a new hire, so prepare examples which will help the interviewer appreciate your natural integrity.


Strong work ethic

Prepare examples of when you have exceeded expectations or gone the extra mile. This will show that you are prepared to work hard throughout your time in the role, not just during the honeymoon period of your first 100 days. Make sure you do so with sincerity and humility: avoid being perceived as bragging!


Self confidence

Tread carefully on that fine line between shining and coming across as arrogant. Work on your body language to ensure you are as (professionally) relaxed as possible and look engaged throughout. Also, start with a firm – but not crushing – handshake and maintain eye contact.


Intellectual curiosity

Potential employers want to see passion and genuine enthusiasm for the role. They want a team member who brings experience and is also keen to grow within the position. Talk about your participation in industry groups and events, or demonstrate your knowledge of current and potential developments.


Openness to continual development

Identify in advance areas in which you may need training in order to better fulfil the role. A potential employer will approve of the willingness to continue learning, if it adds value to their team and company.



If you say you are going to do something, do it! If you offer follow up materials or evidence, make sure it arrives.


Follow up

A short and courteous follow up email to thank the interviewer for the opportunity is a strong gesture which will underline your professionalism and enthusiasm for the role.

Work on ways to demonstrate these intangible qualities and you will make an excellent – maybe winning – impression on an interviewer.

For further tips to help you ace your interviews, see our blog library.

If you have questions on how to shine at interview, or any other aspects of your job hunt, call our experienced and friendly team today on 01483 668700 or email us at

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