When organizations need to hire they are looking not just for a candidate with the right skills for the job, but also for someone who can exceptionally fit into the corporate culture, easy to work with and also has all technical skills required for the job. Technical skills could be different, depending on the job (accounting, finance, engineer, marketing etc.), but “people skills” or “soft skills” are very similar between different jobs: it is candidate’s ability to effectively work with others, without creating a conflict or disrupting the organizational flow.
Most of the time hiring managers would prefer people with the good soft skills and close matching “technical skills” over a candidate with exceptional “technical skills” but poor “soft skills”: their rationale is that that want someone with the right attitude and easy to work with. And they can teach them technical skills either through on the job learning or by sending them to the training class.
The good news is that most of you possess these skills to some extent: the key for successful interview becomes demonstrating these skills, to convince your new boss that you are the best candidate for the job. You can also improve your soft skills through training, professional development, or obtaining coaching/mentoring from someone who understands these skills.
The best news is that once you understand the skills and characteristics that most employer seek, you can tailor your job-search communication — your resume, cover letter, and interview language — to showcase how well your background aligns with common employer requirements.
Based on the surveys of employers below list represents the most valued soft skills, organizations are looking for in the prospective candidates. I’ve also included sample verbiage describing each skill; as a candidate, can adapt this verbiage to all your communications with employers: resumes, cover letters, and interview questions.
Top Soft Skills Employers seeking from prospective Job candidates
Effective Communication Skills. One of the most important skill wanted by most employers is the ability to listen, write, and speak effectively. Successful communication is critical in business. Exceptional listener and communicator who effectively conveys information verbally and in writing are almost always get the job and for a good reason: if you can listen and understand others well and can communicate your ideas well, you will be work effectively with others.
Leadership. While there is some debate about whether leadership is something people are born with, these skills deal with your ability to take charge and manage your co-workers. Goal-driven leader who maintains a productive climate and confidently motivates, mobilizes, and coaches employees to meet high performance standards.
Self motivation and self discipline. Deals with candidate’s ability to design, plan, organize, and implement projects and tasks within an allotted timeframe. Also involves goal-setting. Results-driven achiever with exemplary planning and organizational skills, along with a high degree of detail orientation.
Strong work ethics and focus on results. Best candidates are often altruistic and goal-oriented. While receiving a paycheck is a strong motivator, a good work ethic is also dedicating themselves aside to work deliver value to the organization. Doing so leads to working toward goals rather than putting in the minimum effort.
Energy and Passion. The job-seekers who get hired and the employees who get promoted are the ones with drive and passion — and who demonstrate this enthusiasm through their words and actions. Energetic performer consistently cited for unbridled passion for work, sunny disposition, and upbeat, positive attitude.
Positive attitude. Positive employees have a “how can I help you” attitude and be willing to help each other out. Negativity, sarcasm and dissent can spread like a disease and damage workplace morale and productivity. Best candidates show initiative to make themselves useful and act as teammates to one another.
Dependability. There’s no question that all employers desire employees who will arrive to work every day — on time — and ready to work, and who will take responsibility for their actions. Employers are looking for dependable, responsible contributor committed to excellence and success. A dependable employee is punctual, follows through on his tasks and shows up ready to work. Organizations cannot afford to keep employees who are not reliable: if an employee consistently arrives late to work and routinely fails to follow through or complete his on the job responsibilities, the company loses time, money and business.
Analytical and Research Skills. Your ability to assess a situation, seek multiple perspectives, gather more information if necessary, and identify key issues that need to be addressed and recommend the best solution are critically important on any job. Every potential employer, regardless of the profession, is seeking candidate who can help them to solve problems the more that you can showcase your abilities in this area will certainly catch their attention.
Staying focused on completing tasks. Employers seek job-seekers who love what they do and will keep at it until they solve the problem and get the job done. Productive worker with solid work ethic who exerts optimal effort in successfully completing tasks.
Cultural sensitivity. There is possibly no bigger issue in the workplace than diversity, and job-seekers must demonstrate a sensitivity and awareness to other people and cultures. Organizations are looking for personable professional, whose strengths include cultural sensitivity and an ability to build rapport with a diverse workforce in multicultural settings.
Team player. The ability to relate to your co-workers, inspire others to participate, and mitigate conflict with co-workers is essential given the amount of time spent at work each day. Proven relationship-builder with unsurpassed interpersonal skills. Because so many jobs involve working in one or more work-groups, you must have the ability to work with others in a professional manner while attempting to achieve a common goal. Companies are looking for resourceful team players who excels at building trusting relationships with customers and colleagues.
Problem-Solving and Creativity. Involves the ability to find solutions to problems using your creativity, reasoning, and past experiences along with the available information and resources. Companies are searching for innovative problem-solvers who can generate workable solutions and resolve complaints.
Multitasking: ability to manage multiple priorities. Deals with your ability to manage multiple assignments and tasks, set priorities, and adapt to changing conditions and work assignments. Organizations are hiring flexible team players who thrives in environments requiring ability to effectively prioritize and juggle multiple concurrent projects.
Personal Integrity. Employers probably respect personal integrity more than any other value, especially considering recent corporate scandals. There is no easy way to assess someone’s integrity during the hiring process. But if candidate is caught falsifying information on the resume or employment history, they have almost no chance of getting the job. Only professional whose honesty and integrity provide for effective leadership and optimal business relationships, are being considered by employers.
Loyalty to the organization. Employers want employees who will have a strong devotion to the company — even at times when the company is not necessarily loyal to its employees. Organizations are looking for people that stayed on the same job for 3+ years: this typically demonstrates loyalty to the organization and shows that the candidate is stable and is not jumping from position to position, but rather stays focused on the current job.
Self-Starter: Ability to Work With Little or No Supervision. While teamwork is always mentioned as an important skill, so is the ability to work independently, with minimal supervision. Companies give preference to highly motivated self-starters who takes initiative with minimal supervision.
Professionalism. Deals with acting in a responsible and fair manner in all your personal and work activities, which is seen as a sign of maturity and self-confidence; avoid being petty. Conscientious go-getter candidate, who is highly organized, dedicated, and committed to professionalism will most likely will get the job.
Ability to work effectively under pressure. The ability to work under pressure involves dealing with variables which are often outside of candidate’s control: limited resources or time constraints, the difficulty of the task or having insufficient knowledge required to complete the task, or unforeseen set of events or change of the business climate or other challenges. Companies are looking for flexible positive attitude, effective planning and time-management skills in prospective candidates to help minimize the impact of unexpected events.
Flexibility. Deals with openness to new ideas and concepts, to working independently or as part of a team, and to carrying out multiple tasks or projects. Highly adaptable, mobile, positive, resilient, patient risk-taker candidate who is open to new ideas will be given a priority, comparing to others that are missing this skills.
Self-Confidence. Represents the believe whether he/she is the best candidate for the job, based on personal self-assurance, judgements and abilities. Candidate demonstrates self confidence in the body language and language tonality, sentences that are being expressed and other verbal and non-verbal communications. Employers are looking for confident individuals that can motivate themselves and support others. Look at it this way: if you don’t believe in yourself, in your unique mix of skills, education, and abilities, why should a prospective employer? Be confident in yourself and what you can offer employers. Confident, hard-working employee who is committed to achieving excellence.
Willingness to Learn. No matter what your age, no matter how much experience you have, you should always be willing to learn a new skill or technique. Jobs are constantly changing and evolving, and you must show an openness to grow and learn with that change. Enthusiastic, knowledge-hungry learner, eager to meet challenges and quickly assimilate new concepts.
Why employers are evaluating Soft Skills and personal qualities in the candidates
People skills and personality traits are important qualities, required for candidates to succeed on any job. Almost all of these skills can be learned and they are all elements that you can learn, cultivate, developed, maintained and improved over your career. Once you have identified the soft skills and values and assessed the degree to which you posses them, remember to document in your resume, have examples ready for the interview and always look for the opportunities to improve them to grow in your career. As my manager use to say: “Technical skills get you hired, but soft skills get you promoted.”