Feb 08
Soft skills that employers are looking for

by Lerato Mashego - Network Recruitment Blog

In the modern economy, landing your dream job is not solely dependent on your technical skills. Research indicates that a professional's ability to communicate, highlight their analytical skills and their ability to work well with others matters more to employers than ever before.

Whilst interviews often include conversations around a candidate's technical skills, it has become increasingly important to assess the individual's chances of fitting in with the organisation's culture and work environment.   Senior specialist recruiter, Nina Mans, advises that a candidate's soft skills are a huge part of the decision-making process. She explains that a candidate's soft skills, or lack thereof, are a good way for specialist recruiters to assess if the candidate will be the right culture fit or not.

"In my opinion, the culture of an organisation is reliant on its diverse employees' and how well they work with each other i.e. traditionalists (pre-1946), baby boomers (1946 – 1964), generation X (1965 – 1976), millennials or generation Y (1977 – 1997), generation Z (after 1997). Because of the huge difference in the way each generation operates and makes decisions, harmony in an environment might be difficult to achieve. Therefore, soft skills are a good way of assessing if the candidate will fit in with the ethos of the company," explains Mans.

If you're thinking of developing your soft skills, here are three skills that employers are looking for:

1.    Creative problem-solving skills
According to Vicki Salemi, a career expert at Monster, employers are looking for professionals who know how to solve issues on their own.

2.    Be an effective communicator
Employers want their employees to have good communication skills, both verbal and written.

3.    Leadership skills
Your capabilities to effectively lead a team will be essential as you move up the corporate ladder.

Mans says that management can encourage the development of these skills by empowering their staff and creating an inclusive working environment where professionals are exposed to a range of scenarios.  In addition, management should provide staff with constructive feedback and the opportunity to learn from their mistakes without being judged, but rather celebrated for overcoming a challenge.

The current job market is a difficult one and quite passive. Mans understands job seekers' frustrations when they apply for a job and don't receive any feedback. She advises job seekers to be focused in their approach and to target the right companies and people. "Once you send your CV, ensure that it fits the advertised role 100%. Furthermore, follow-up by picking up the phone and presenting yourself to the recruiter as well," she concludes.

Nina Mans is an Executive Specialist Consultants at Network Recruitment

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