Use this simple 3-step formula to ace a job interview when you don’t have all the required skills

You're not going to meet every requirement listed on a job description and that's okay, says interview expert Barry Drexler.

However, Drexler, who has over 30 years of experience working in HR at notable institutions like Lehman Brothers and Lloyd Banking Group, says you shouldn't share your lack of qualifications unless explicitly asked.

"Don't volunteer insecurities," says Drexler. "There's no reason to volunteer what you haven't done unless they ask."

But if you find yourself in a situation where you're asked about experience or a skill that you're lacking, Drexler advises using this three-step approach: Explain what you do know about the skill, give examples of similar skills that you possess and express that you're willing to learn.

"First of all, it's not typical if you're interviewing that you've never heard of something or never done something before," he says.

Depending on the question, you likely have some experience either working in a similar role, using a similar software or have some information about the required skill or program that you can discuss.

In addressing the question, you should admit that you don't have the skill but then quickly backup your answer with "supportive reasoning," he explains.

Drexler uses this example: A hiring manager asks whether you have experience using PowerPoint and you've never used it before.

The first part of the response would be, "I haven't used PowerPoint, but I know PowerPoint is used to create presentations, graphs and charts."

This shows that you're informed and knowledgeable about the required skill even though you lack the hands-on experience, he says.

The second step would be explaining what similar experience you have.

For example, "I've learned complex programming like JavaScript and COBOL and I'm advanced in Excel." This shows that you have experience learning and working with other software packages.

Finally, finish by emphasizing your willingness to learn, says Drexler.

For example, "If I can learn this other advanced programming, I'm sure I can learn PowerPoint very quickly and am more than willing to do so."

You can use this in other situations as well, says the interview coach.

For example, an interviewer asks whether you have managerial experience. A good response would be, "I don't have managerial experience, but I was allowed to take the lead on various projects where I delegated tasks to other co-workers and received specified results. If I could obtain these specified results then I'm sure I can effectively manage a team here and am willing to learn from those above me."

Regardless of the area where you're not completely qualified, says Drexler, "always turn it from what you don't know to what you do know."

"You need to be like a spin doctor," he adds, "like a politician."

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See also:

11 common words and phrases to avoid using in a job interview

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