Technical proficiency, experience and hard skills might be the reason you get a job interview, but soft skills are what will help you get and keep that job.
When you’re looking for jobs to apply for, you’re probably going straight to the necessary requirements and scanning the hard, technical skills required to see if you’re eligible.
Some job adverts might not even include soft skills as a necessary requirement, but rather as a desirable one. Even if they are there, you probably glance over ‘strong communication skills’ or ‘a team player’ and consider them so nebulous that you assume you qualify.
The truth is, soft skills are easy to disregard because they’re not as quantifiable as technical proficiency. Employers might write down certain soft skills as standard practice without really thinking about the importance of them. Candidates might not think about whether or not they really have them before applying.
Why soft skills are important
According to research carried out by Leadership IQ, almost half of new hires fail within the first 18 months. The majority of these failures are due to a lack of soft skills.
Employees need to have a base of technical or hard skills to qualify for a job in the first place. But any shortcomings in hard skills can generally be learned, honed and taught on the job.
Soft skills such as communication skills, emotional intelligence, motivation and problem-solving abilities are notoriously hard to teach.
Because they’re less quantifiable than technical skills, those lacking in soft skills can hide their inabilities better during interviews.
Candidates looking at job specs should pay just as much attention to the soft skills as the hard skills. Think about each one and whether or not you qualify. What makes you think you have those soft skills? Can you prove that you’re a good communicator? Can you give examples of times when you were a good team player?
For employers, it’s important to think about the soft skills that might be required for each role and choose them carefully when writing a job advert. It’s also important to remember to look for those skills in the applicants the same way you look for technical skills.
Check out the infographic below, which demonstrates the importance of these skills in the workplace and why they shouldn’t be overlooked.
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