8 “Soft Skills” Employers Look For

Hiring managers are looking for more than just “hard skills” when they hire a new candidate, they are also looking for “soft skills”. Hard skills are the skills you learn in school or on the job, such as welding, data analysis, or typing. Soft skills are non job specific, personal attributes that can be improved through personal development.

In addition to the hard skills employers are looking for some of the most desired soft skills are:

  1. Work Ethic – Hiring managers are looking for candidates who will put in the energy and effort to be good employees. Employers want workers who are reliable and take initiative with minimal supervision.
  2. Communication – Employees need written and verbal communication skills to thrive in the workplace, because these skills influence how a person is perceived. You will also be more successful if you can clearly articulate the details of a project to both co-workers and management.
  3. Teamwork Skills – In addition to communication, the ability to work as part of a team is also important. A company’s success is based on the sum of its employees, and hiring managers want employees who can be team players.
  4. Organization – The ability to effectively plan projects and daily tasks is a highly desired soft skill. Properly planned projects are more time and cost efficient. Fellow employees never want to feel as though their time is being wasted because of somebody else’s haphazard planning.
  5. Time Management – Along with organization, time management is also important. Employees who properly manage their time tend to be more efficient and productive than employees who do not.
  6. Punctuality – If you are properly managing your time you will be punctual. Nobody likes to be kept waiting whether it is for a meeting or your portion of a project. Punctuality shows respect and consideration for the time of other people.
  7. Problem Solving – No matter how much you plan problems will always occur. The ability to offer creative solutions to those problems is a valuable asset to any company.
  8. Friendly Personality – Be nice. It really is that simple. Nice people are better perceived, and easier and more pleasant to work with. Employers want workers who will encourage and support their colleagues, and have a positive attitude towards their work.

HA0521 - Bedford staff and M1. A set of images  of HA staff in the Bedford office and new section of M1, north of junction 9. March 2010

We have plenty real life stories of employees who lack soft skills. We have often heard employers complain about employee use of cell phones on company time. This shows poor work ethic and lack of time management skills. Another common issue is employees showing up late to work or lack of punctuality. A complaint we often hear from hiring managers is job candidates showing up not properly dressed for interviews. Appropriate attire and grooming are another way to communicate your desire and willingness to work. And while all of these things may seem like common sense, we hear them over and over.

While soft skills aren’t necessarily learned skills, knowing what hiring managers and employers are looking for will give you the opportunity to work on your own soft skill set.

Employers, what are you looking for in an employee? Start a conversation with us on Facebook!




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