Why how you do something matters

Applicants can fall into the trap of thinking that if they’ve done something then that is enough.

Or if I’ve demonstrated my experience then we can assume that I did it effectively.

Not so.

The difference is demonstrated to me just about every week when I purchase my fruit and vegies. The staff at the markets demonstrate their customer service when I trade my money for their goods. If one of those staff was a job applicant, they could say that they have demonstrated customer service skills. They might even say they do this well.

The reality is, most of these people take a minimalist, transactional approach. They shift money from my wallet into the till, and they move fruit and veg into my basket. If I’m lucky. That’s it. Rarely do I get ‘Hello’ and if I do it is so perfunctory as to suggest it’s a big drag to do this. I certainly don’t get ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. And definitely not a smile or much eye contact to indicate one human being is making a minor connection with another.

If they were taking a sound transaction approach I would at least get the smile, hello, please may I have your money, thank you for giving it to me, and here is your produce.

But no – I don’t even get that.

So if you want to convince me of your customer service skills you would need to be able to tell me the behaviours you use to interact with customers and contribute to the possibility they will return next week. What’s more, your boss and some customers need to verify this.

It doesn’t take much these days to demonstrate interpersonal skills because so many people are sadly lacking in the fine art of civil courtesies.

So when you front up to an interview you need to do more than just say you have taken some action. You need to be able to say how you do the action and how it is effective.

Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.