Soft Skills: Reading Between The Lines

After last weeks blog on AI and the effect it could have on our workforce, it got me thinking. I wrote about the ‘human touch’ and what makes us so adaptable even in the working world.  It sounded pseudo-insightful, no matter how much I believed what I said. But just how important are our characteristics and personality when it comes to work?

See, in my role as Resourcer here at 1st Stop, I spend a large amount of time looking at CVs, CVs and other CVs in the search to find the ideal candidate for each role we fill. However, I find equally as much value – probably more – when I speak to a candidate. Every new registration that enters our office sits down with me to have a reasonably informal chat about their background and passions. I try to learn about their attitudes to work and life, and personal reflections on their previous experiences. There are many times where CVs don’t provide even half the picture I needed of a candidate: very rarely did I not have a clearer opinion after the candidate had a chat with me.

More Than Just Experience

The reason behind these sort of chats helps me define several things about ourselves – characteristics that can also be indicators of employability. Our personality traits that benefit the workplace are referred to as ‘soft skills’. Unlike skills such as experience with specific job roles, soft skills are transferable to almost any role and company. They denote things such as loyalty, drive, humility, communication skills and each individuals way of thinking and style of work. There’s virtually no marker of soft skills, no certificates or qualifications. These skills are apparent through your work, presentation and personality.

Though soft skills don’t override experience or qualifications, top companies are becoming increasingly aware of their importance in the recruitment process. The amount of importance that has shifted towards “culture fit” is growing, and is occurring more and more frequently. Your style of work and interpersonal skills will make your case more prominent for certain workplaces, while being loyal, punctual and a good communicator will be well-received regardless of where you apply.

 

Daniel Goleman - Soft Skills

Daniel Goleman, Author of ‘Emotional Intelligence’ and former long-time contributor to the New York Times.

 

Equally so, companies need workers that reflect not only their job role, but also their company as a whole. Studies have proven numerous times that you’ll be more inclined to work harder and produce results if you have a love for the product or service. Matching the clients ethos or agenda to your own beliefs provides drive and reward in what you do. For many integration is key to a successful hire. What better way to integrate into new work is there than feeling like you fit in to your team immediately?

All in All…

So as I said before, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to a candidate with a CV. Learning about candidates one-to-one can unearth some interesting traits that may not initially have been apparent. You might even find that they’ll benefit you in the long run over experience. Happier workers means less leavers and better work production, ergo a happier company too. It’s important to note that soft skills might not get you a job alone. However, it may well be the defining difference between you and the person interviewing after you, or your next hire.

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Soft Skills - Reading Between The Lines

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