What are soft skills and why are they so important?
It is rather difficult to come up with a universal, general definition of a soft skill. To fully understand a soft skill, you first need to know what a hard skill is.
A hard skill is defined as a quantifiable skill you gained through education and training and you, as a potential employee, can prove you have this skill through certified and school transcripts.
Generally, a soft skill is a transferable skill that you take with you from position to position, company to company. Most hiring managers require soft skills as these skills often mean employees are more successful, work better in teams, and don’t need to be micro-managed.
So, what is a soft skill? Here are a few examples of soft skills that you can include in the interview conversation:
1. Effective communication
Effective communication is the most sought-after soft skill included in this blog. If you can communicate effectively, clearly, and well, half the battle to get the job done is won. This also includes effective listening – if you listen well, you know what is required from you individually and as part of a team.
Key communication skills include:
· Verbal skills
· Written skills
· Ability to complete and present presentations
· Ability to handle conflict in an active, cool and calm manner
· Ability to effectively express ideas and thoughts
· Capability to explain the task at hand to team members and subordinates
· Ability and willingness to receive feedback and criticism
2. Problem-solving skills
This soft skill, like communication, 2-fold.
The first prong of this skill is how you solve complex problems taking every factor into account such as time constraints, different personalities in the team, client requirements, and company policies and procedures.
The second prong is how you can prevent problems from arising. When you think of solutions you might be able to create a solution that will take all variables into account and prevent this issue from being a problem in the future. Creative problem-solving skills are an asset to any company for the company might even include the solutions in their policies and procedures, codes of conduct, client documentation, and inner-company documents.
3. Leadership skills and qualities
Leadership qualities are not just something managers and CEOs need – it’s a universal skill that will enable you to take the lead in a team, take initiative and work independently.
Leadership qualities include:
· Flexibility
· Ability to take ownership of a task or assignment
· Ability to take responsibility
· Dependably
· Humility
· Credibility
· Ability to build and maintain relationships in a work environment that is free of conflict and drama
4. Ability to effortlessly slot into a team and complete teamwork
To be able to work effectively as part of a team and slot into a team is a vital and essential skill that most hiring managers are looking for.
Some key team player skills include:
· Honesty
· Active listening
· Support
· Respect
· Accountability
5. Adaptability
Companies often need to change to meet new demands and adapt rapidly. Most companies require employees who can quickly and promptly adapt to industry, market, and technology changes. The Covid19 pandemic will remain a prime example of adaptability in the global landscape – words and phrases like ‘virtual’, ‘new normal’, ‘remote work environment’, and ‘essential services’ are part of our vocabulary and are now also part of our work environment.
Qualities of an adaptable employee include:
· Positive attitude
· Ability to handle fast and sudden changes
· Flexibility
· Take on new tasks and responsibilities (e.g. when their job requirements increase)
· Open-mindedness – People who stick to what they already know and are reluctant to try non-traditional solutions are less likely to adapt well to change.
6. Emotional intelligence
This is also known as EQ. Emotional intelligence is the ability to handle and manage your emotions and those of others without creating a conflict-filled environment.
EQ overlaps with all 5 of the above-mentioned skills. A high EQ also helps to diffuse situations and ensure communication in a team or with managers is clear, complete, and effective.
7. Time management skills
Employees who manage their time well are more likely to be more productive, and efficient, and meet deadlines.
To effectively manage your time you can add the following to your career arsenal:
· Use a diary to manage your day and week and set time limits for tasks
· Ability to analyse workload and prioritize responsibilities
· Maintain focus
· Communicate to your team/team leader/management if the allocated time is not enough
8. Critical thinking
This is the ability to evaluate information or a situation logically, and clearly and leave biases outside of your thought patterns. The benefit of critical thinkers is that they might find creative solutions that suit the company and client base.
Some critical thinking qualities include:
· Ability and confidence to ask questions
· Capability to gather as much information as needed in a logical manner
· Patience to think through all the information before taking action
· Ability to consider alternatives, changes, and different choices
As an employee you are able to upskill your soft skills by doing short training courses, online courses, or joining mentorship programs should they be available. We hope that this blog has helped you better prepare for your next interview and given you some self-improvement points to ponder!
Should you wish us to cover a specific topic in a blog, please feel free to email us at info@agps.ie We look forward to hearing from you.
Visit https://agps.ie/ to upload your CV today or log a client request
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