During the typical hiring process, the emphasis is usually place on what specific skills and technical abilities a candidate can bring to the company.
But here’s the truth –many hiring managers admit they often prioritize “soft skills”, like problem solving or team-working abilities, over “hard skills” like quality assurance testing or data entry.
In fact, a 2013 study by Millennial Branding and American Express revealed 61 percent of hiring managers said soft skills were more important in new employees than hard or technical skills. The same study found the ability to prioritize, positive attitude and teamwork skills were the most valuable qualities when it came to giving promotions.
If you think about it, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Many people don’t select their dental practitioner based entirely on technical capabilities and skills. They choose dentists who treat people well and make time to respond to their concerns. The same thing applies to other occupations.
Regardless of this growing focus on soft skills, they aren’t customarily taught in school, or even on the job. Employees usually have to learn them on their own, either by watching and mimicking others who exhibit these qualities or practicing them like they might every other skill.
Soft skills to focus on
While every employee should strive to be a well-rounded worker, there a few soft skills that employees prize more than others:
- Time management – Being able to multi-task and prioritize work is particularly important for new hire who must learn a new job while doing it at the same time. For an interview, be prepared to give examples from your past on how you were successfully able to juggle several responsibilities at once.
- Positive attitude – We all experience stress at work and at home, and that make staying positive harder than it sounds. Instead of constantly complaining and finding the negative in things, make an effort find positives throughout the day and appreciate the work done by others.
- Teamwork skills – Having the capacity to work as a member of a team shows one’s ability to get along with, and accomplish work duties with, various kinds of personalities. Teamwork also means having the capacity to compromise with others, a characteristic often sought after by hiring managers. Employees who want to be thought of as team players need to point out scenarios when they worked efficiently with others on their resume and be prepared to describe the specific results of their efforts.
- Confidence – Probably the hardest soft skill to master, confidence is crucial with regard to winning over clients, colleagues and supervisors. The best way to exude confidence in an interview is to do your research and find something that make you enthusiastic about the job prospect, as confidence is often built on a foundation of knowledge and passion.
At Career Concepts, we work with our job seekers to help them identify which soft skills they already have and which soft skills they need to improve at. If you are looking for advice on soft skills or any other aspect of job seeking, please contact us today.