Going through school, it seemed your grades were going to determine the kind of job you receive. But what are recruiters really looking for when they are hiring besides grades? Surprisingly, your GPA isn't top of mind for recruiters. Chances are they are more interested in your soft skills. So, what are soft skills exactly and how can you best showcase them?
According to Investopedia, "soft skills are interpersonal skills that characterize a person's relationships with other people." Employees must look for a balance of both soft skills and hard skills when considering a potential hire. Hard skills are easily measured and proven, but soft skills tend to be more difficult as they are intangible. When you think of soft skills, consider traits such as analytical thinking, leadership, and verbal or written communication.
Below are a list of the top six soft skills companies find the most value in. You may not be able to list them in your CV like other hard skills, but you can include examples of past work that will give you a chance to talk about them during an interview.
Communication is key. Simple communication skills can easily boost your professionalism and take your career to the next level, no matter the field. The nice thing about communication as a soft skill is that it's easily noticed in conversation. Hiring mangers can tell the difference in someone trying to run an interview versus someone who wants to get to know their potential employer.
The ability to collaborate and work well with others is a skill that will never go out of style. When being hired for highly technical positions, this is a skill that could easily be overlooked. Most leaders and managers know a company's success is not determined by one person but the result of each person working to achieve a common goal. Collaboration is a skill that will ultimately build success within yourself and an organization and also make the workplace a more enjoyable environment.
In life, things don't always go as we plan, but the ability to shift gears and adapt to the situation at hand makes for excellent leadership. In the work space, challenges or new ideas will always be put in front of you testing your ability to adapt. Your employer needs to know you can handle these situations. Prove you can by being able to recall times you've overcome certain situations in the past. This is a question employees tend to ask, and even if they don't, it is a topic worth trying to bring up in the interview. Being able to recall those situations will allow the hiring manager to see examples of your past behavior and trust in your potential future performance.
4. Problem Solving
Similar to adaptability, knowing how to think on your feet is a critical soft skill and something any employer seeks in a future hire. Your boss has their own tasks to cover and does not need you to come to them with problems; they need solutions. Being able to see a problem and come up with an effective plan of attack is a critical skill. But also like adaptability, this can be a difficult skill to prove in an interview and the best way revolves around reference to past instances and how you have taken a problem and turned it into a solution rather than a burden.
5. Critical Observation
"Ignorance is bliss" is not the kind of mindset that is going to land you a job. Being a critical observer, on the other hand, is. The ability to see information and situations beyond what is directly in front of you is a beneficial skill in many aspects. It can cover how you analyze data, to how you analyze people. Observing how others respond to situations and information can give you a leg up in understanding the inner workings of a company or your competition. The best advice for showcasing this skill is being mindful during the interview, noting the interviewer's behavior and knowing how to respond accordingly. Any smart recruiter will pick up on these cues.
Leadership is another skill that goes beyond your career. But when it comes to success in the workplace, leadership will allow you to rise with the company, giving you insight and opportunity which leads to promotions and increased salaries. Being a leader isn't just about being the boss. Leadership comes down to betterment; this can be betterment of yourself, others, or an organization. Any past experience where you can point to these instances of betterment, or times where you have motivated a group toward a common goal is a key demonstrator of this critical soft skill. Ultimately, hiring managers are looking for someone with the potential to take the company further.
Everyone has soft skills and experience, but unlike other career milestones, they can be tricky to showcase. We recommend thinking of specific projects or tasks you have worked on in the past that will give you the opportunity to talk about these skills with the hiring manager. Whether you are looking for a new job or not, it is always a good idea to think of future projects and opportunities that will help further develop your soft skillset.
Now that you know what recruiters are looking for, are you looking for more assistance in the job market? For all your hiring needs, consider TriMech Staffing! Learn how we can benefit you by reading our infographic.