More Than a Resume: What are intangibles and why do they matter?

Intangibles set you apart, they make you unique. They are your “special sauce”. Some examples of intangibles include: personality, first impressions, etiquette, and energy.

Humans are simply hiring humans they want to work with. Intangibles are often the deciding factor in who sits at the desk. Think about your own intangibles as part of your interview preparation. Jot down a few before an interview. There are other attributes off the page that stand out to interviewers. Remember what makes you, you and go into the interview confident in who you are.

We asked our recruiters, “Why do intangibles matter?”
“When it comes to landing your dream job, there is so much more to the interview process than just your skillset, education, and general background. As simplistic as it may seem, who you are, your personal brand, and your interpersonal skills matter to make the lasting impression you need to land the job you want.

Show intellectual curiosity – You want the interviewer to feel like you have a genuine interest in the job and come across as passionate about the position and company. An employer wants to hire someone whom they feel will never stop learning and plans to stay and grow with the company. Don’t be afraid to give an example of a time when you took the initiative and asked to get involved in something outside of your “job description.” Make sure the interviewer knows you are someone who can be taught new skills.

Show strong work ethic – This one might be the most important. Employers want to hire someone who is willing to go the extra mile and takes pride in their work. Emphasize your experiences, give specific examples of a time you did something you were happy with, and the impact it had on the project you were working on.

Interview etiquette – First impressions are everything – dress to impress, show up polished and presentable, be there early, stand up when shaking the interviewer’s hand, and keep consistent eye contact when answering and asking questions.

Be engaging –Your energy and the way you exude it makes a lasting impression on any interviewer. Be excited, engaged, and enthusiastic; ask good questions, and show an understanding of what the interviewer just said by expressing an opinion.

Have good follow-up skills – Some job seekers have a hard time with this. They assume for whatever reason the interview didn’t go as well as they thought, or the interviewer just didn’t seem interested. Following up, believe it or not, can be an attractive quality to a prospective employer. A short thank you note goes a long way.” – Alexis Ackerman, Executive Director and Kaitlin Feaster, Associate Director

“There are many ways to excel in an interview, and conveying meaningful intangibles is one of them. A strong resume will land you an interview but displaying these “soft skills” will help you get the job and beat the competition. Employers are hiring you for your potential, so it’s important to express intangibles such as optimism, confidence, eagerness to learn, and intellectual curiosity during your interview process and throughout each round. Asking thoughtful questions and then patiently listening to your interviewer’s response may impress them more than reading every bullet point on your resume that they reviewed beforehand. Sharpening these “soft skills” takes time but is pivotal to crushing an interview.” – Adam Ellner, Senior Associate

“Intangibles are a crucial element of interviewing because your resume can get your foot in the door, but the intangible qualities are what ultimately lend to success. If you can demonstrate qualities like attitude, initiative, diligence, organizational skills, and industriousness throughout the interview process, an employer is much more likely to see you as an asset to the team than if you have everything on paper but lack the intangibles. The best candidates have the skillset necessary to succeed in the job to start with and the intangibles to succeed in the job long term.” – Sam McKeon, Associate

Submitted by: Katheryn Benedetto, Associate Director at Arrow Search Partners

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By Lindsey Murtland
Lindsey Murtland Senior Associate Director of Employer Engagement and Partnerships