Knowledge, training, and experience are attributes that recruiters evaluate when they are looking to fill a vacancy in a company, either on-site or while starting their international expansion and need overseas employees.
However, today they also value workers with other personality traits and qualities, such as soft skills that, in addition to helping them relate better to other people in their workplaces, allow them to succeed in their daily tasks.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, many organizations re-evaluated their workforce; they realized they needed the most qualified personnel but also people with social and communication skills, service attitude, and emotional intelligence, among other interpersonal attributes.
So, if you are looking for a job or want to expand your career options, remember that soft or power skills are more important than ever and that recruiters pay special attention to the 10 mentioned below. First, learn what interpersonal competencies are, why they are essential, and how they differ from personal competencies.
What are soft skills, and why are they so important?
Soft skills are usually defined as the personality attributes and traits that help people relate better in their work and other contexts, such as with their family, friends and in school.
While they are often innate qualities, interpersonal skills can also be developed and improved with experience and practice depending on the situations and settings in which they are required.
Due to their importance, it is becoming increasingly common to find job offers where experts in a field are requested but who also know how to communicate effectively, manage their time, and are empathetic people.
Having interpersonal skills not only helps to succeed in the workplace and achieve organizational goals faster and better but also makes people more adaptable and flexible, so these personality traits add up in both their professional and personal lives.
What makes hard and soft skills different?
Soft skills are called power skills because of the added value they bring to the person who possesses them. However, there are also hard skills, the techniques and specialized knowledge needed to work in specific fields.
Unlike interpersonal skills, these competencies are acquired and improved through education, constant training, and practice. They are indispensable requirements when hiring a new employee, whether for a face-to-face or remote position.
To prove that a job applicant has such knowledge, recruiters usually ask for certificates, degrees, or documents that accredit and validate these skills. Therefore, they can be quantified more easily before adding a candidate to an organization.
Hard skills are usually the base necessity for most professional opportunities, but having soft skills adds value to those who possess them. Thus, the strongest candidates will be those who have both hard and soft skills.
The 10 soft skills most wanted by recruiters
After knowing what interpersonal skills are, why they are important, and how to differentiate them from hard skills, here are the top 10 power skills that recruiters are looking out for today:
1. Effective communication
|Effective communication is crucial not only in the workplace but in any aspect of life, as it implies transmitting clear information with precise language and understanding what the other person is saying without altering the intention of their speech. Communication can be verbal, non-verbal, visual, or written. The first has to do with using precise language to transfer information through oral or sign language. It involves speaking loudly and confidently, listening attentively to others, and avoiding filler words such as jargon when expressing oneself. Nonverbal communication, on the other hand, is the combination of body movements, gestures, and facial expressions that help people express themselves. It requires paying attention, observing oneself and others, and being aware that some actions can say more than a thousand words.|
|Visual communication is about using images to reinforce a message; even the emojis we use in our chats matter. While written communication is related to all those written signs, such as the emails we send, the directions we give, and any other message based on writing. Effective communication results from constant practice in what we say and express with our gestures, images, writing, and memes that reinforce our messages.|
Leadership is the ability of an individual or group to guide others and achieve common goals. Therefore, for senior positions, recruiters are looking for people who help organizations reach their purposes through their knowledge and can influence their peers to get better results.
A leader has certain qualities, such as creative problem-solving, excellent communication skills, organization, time management, teamwork, and adaptability.
Likewise, a leader knows how to build relationships both with their superiors and with the people under them, is innovative, motivates their colleagues, has decision-making skills, knows how to negotiate, and can manage conflicts.
You may not find just management positions, but having leadership skills may lead you to fill these vacancies in the future, in addition to your knowledge, experience, and track record.
As a soft skill, leadership tends to be innate and is hard to develop. However, it is possible to do so, especially when you have other power skills. In practice, leadership is the sum of several interpersonal competencies.
3. Creative problem-solving
Every day, people face various types of challenges, both in the work and personal spheres. Therefore, it is crucial to be able to solve problems to have a possible solution to any unexpected situation.
Recruiters pay special attention to this skill, as they are interested in hiring qualified labor that also can think outside the box when needed, as this can help in daily tasks and at times when more attention and dedication is required from the staff.
The ability to solve problems creatively involves critical thinking, seeing beyond any circumstance, evaluating previous experiences, and making decisions. These skills enable innovation, which in the long run helps to improve processes within organizations and achieve success.
Problem-solving helps you save time and give faster answers and can be improved if you have previously designed strategies that consider what worked and what did not. Persistence, questioning established methods, and asking for help are also involved.
4. Time management
Time management is another of the power skills that recruiters are most interested in, as employees with this attribute are more productive and efficient, leading their companies to be more profitable and achieve success faster.
To manage time in the smartest way possible, it is necessary to be organized, have calendars of activities, plan tasks, and prioritize urgent deliverables that require more attention and energy.
This empowering skill is key for employees, especially those who work remotely, to have a better balance between their work and personal life and to be able to perform other activities that enrich them and not only dedicate themselves to work.
Time management has many benefits, such as less stress and anxiety about not finishing tasks on time, better focus on work, more free time, and more energy and motivation.
Getting up early to make the most of the day, setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals, setting limits on workload, and minimizing distractions will help anyone who wants to manage their time better.
5. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is also part of the interpersonal competencies that help people to relate better in their different contexts; someone who knows how to recognize their emotions and understand those of others fosters healthier work cultures.
Emotional intelligence is based on self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation, empathy, and social skills, like maintaining calm and control in difficult or unexpected situations.
Emotional intelligence often benefits those in leadership positions, as these people must be empathetic, understanding and know how to manage conflicts in a team.
Emotional intelligence can be improved by paying attention to your emotions, such as asking yourself why you feel in a certain way about a particular situation. And to better understand those around you, practice active listening: show interest in what they say, so you can get to know and understand them better.
|Adaptability is one of the skills recruiters are most interested in because, in the modern workplace, change is always possible, so it is best to have a team that reacts quickly and takes on daily challenges. Companies are looking for professionals capable of adapting to various changes within companies, from implementing a new platform to working with remote employees, collaborating with a new client, or delivering a task sooner. When employees adapt, they recognize, accept and overcome unanticipated variations, so this skill is related to learning, open-mindedness, curiosity, resourcefulness, and the ability to recover from unforeseen events.|
|Therefore, employees who know how to adapt are resilient: they are confident in themselves and their interpersonal and hard skills; they are determined and focused on achieving success.|
Teamwork is indispensable to achieve the objectives of an organization since a collaborative and combined effort has better results in any company, from those with a large number of employees to those with limited staff and resources.
When a recruiter requires a professional who knows how to work as part of a team, they are looking for a person who can cooperate with others, communicates, manages their time effectively, and is a problem solver. Consequently, this is one of the most valued interpersonal skills.
Professional expertise, background, and knowledge are not very valuable if a professional has not developed the ability to follow instructions, exchange ideas with colleagues and coordinate with others.
A positive attitude and a sense of belonging are essential to developing this interpersonal skill: people who are open to dialogue and collaboration and know their value within a group work better in teams.
This is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Developing awareness of oneself and the people around contributes to an equitable and peaceful world, making it one of the most essential soft skills in the workplace.
Today, telecommuting has driven the creation of increasingly diverse teams, so it is indispensable to have empathetic members who understand race, gender, and other traits that can lead to prejudice and racism within the organization.
Being empathetic is not only about listening and trying to understand others, but it requires adapting to the pace of others – some people can do the same task faster or slower – being collaborative and helping colleagues whenever possible.
Empathy, as an indispensable interpersonal skill in the workplace, is linked to emotional intelligence leaders. Still, regardless of their position, any team member will bring unique value to their organization if they exhibit the features listed above.
9. Continuous learning
Knowledge, track record, and proven skills during the selection process help candidates secure
a position. However, recruiters also look for professionals who are willing to continue learning.
Continuous learning means regularly acquiring new knowledge, skills, and competencies that help employees perform better in their day-to-day work and will help them for the rest of their lives.
Companies are interested in adding people to their teams willing to continue learning because the more capable staff they have, the more profitable they become. Thus, more and more companies offer constant training, coaching, and even external courses for their employees.
Knowledge is power, so continuous learning helps people to have more and better opportunities, to perform better in their workplaces, to develop personally and professionally, and even to receive promotions and incentives within the organizations where they offer their services.
In an increasingly competitive and interconnected world, the more interpersonal skills a person can develop, the better. Such is the case of open-mindedness, the facility to understand that people think differently and have a wealth of beliefs and ways of seeing the world that makes them unique.
Having an open mind is more necessary than ever for professionals, especially after adopting remote work and the increasingly diverse teams resulting from this form of remote collaboration.
Companies are looking for employees who, in addition to being tolerant and respectful of their co-workers, are receptive to new ideas, opinions, and points of view. In this way, workspaces, even virtual ones, will be more harmonious and freer of prejudice.
Also, open-minded employees are attractive to companies because they can work well alone and in teams, are more flexible, adapt to unexpected changes, and are curious, creative, empathetic, sensitive, and open to new challenges.