top of page

Top Soft Skills Teams look for

Updated: 6 days ago




Search online for information about soft skills, and you'll find numerous lists that often mimic each other without explaining the importance of these skills or their relevance to job searching and career development. Seeing this we interviewed three notable Talent Acquisition professionals: Michał Bieńko, Benas Zibolis from PVcase, and Margaret Buj from Mixmax to shed light and offer up to date information surrounding two main areas soft skills.

The first was identifying the most in-demand soft skills from their collective experience of nearly 20 years in recruitment across various industries, locations, and environments. The second aspect was determining the soft skills that are commonly lacking in candidates today. Providing a clear insight into current trends, enabling you to distinguish yourself in the right ways.

While this article offers insights that span across different nations, skills, and industries, it's not intended to be a comprehensive guide on soft skills but rather a starting point for further research in this field. Still explore other articles, but view them with more scrutiny, where did the information stem from? Why are they sharing those skills? Is it relevant to you?

With that, let’s explore what our three guests had to share…

 

Communication

The importance of communication was unanimously shared by all three guests, each highlighting a unique facet of this multifaceted skill. Michał explained the significance of being a competent conversationalist in hiring contexts, focusing on clarity in conveying ideas, handling criticism professionally, engaging in active listening, and setting aside personal biases for the company's benefit.

Benas delved deeper, linking communication to the presentation of ideas. He questioned the ability to precisely address team queries, stay on topic, and use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Results) method effectively. He observed that many job seekers often overlook the 'results' aspect, underscoring the importance of personal impact in team settings, remember the company is hiring you not your team.

Margaret broadened the perspective and discussed communication for those looking to work distributed. Sharing the ability to document work, discuss code, and share feedback on a global scale. This level of communication requires deeper thought to how you might convey across different working styles, time zones and background.

Communication is a vast and essential skill, influencing numerous other soft skills. Mastering it not only enhances work performance but also provides a competitive edge in various life aspects and considering it was the first skill all guests mentioned, you can guess that many other hiring teams are also paying close attention to it.

 

Sales

Brilliant candidates who narrowly miss out on opportunities might be missing the skill of sales according to Michał. Having a strong ability to sell your ideas, projects, knowledge, and skills will help you gain a level of influence not just in the job search but once embedded in a role as well. Although Michał used the phrase ‘sales’ he also explained that it doesn’t need to always reflect hard-sales and could also incorporate soft-sales such as the presentation of skills based on the hiring teams needs to help them connect the dots. Some are relatively fortunate to have gained a strong understand of this skill across their careers already but if like many you are stumped around this topic then Michał suggests two ways to upskill here.

Firstly, grab yourself a copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad: The #1 Best-Selling Personal Finance Book Ever it will give you an indication into a variety of skills including sales and is good read for anyone looking to expand their awareness.

Secondly, utilise ChatGPT or Bard to create a training programme around sales, with a good prompt you can customise based on your current level, desired level, and time frame to improve.

Sales is in all aspects of our life; you don’t need to be hitting the phones to improve this skill.

 

Innovation

Being able to not only solve problems but have the ability to demonstrate creative and novel solutions can help in all manner of teams and is a skill Margaret shared as highly sought after from her experiences.

Employers and hiring teams often look for candidates who demonstrate innovation in their approach, especially those who can proactively enhance different facets of the organisation without explicit direction, thereby contributing significantly to the company's progress. Exhibiting these qualities can greatly improve your standing in the eyes of potential employers.

 

Teamwork

Working independently rarely leads to long-term success. Even freelancers collaborate with others, making teamwork and the ongoing process of learning from and sharing knowledge with others crucial. Margaret emphasised the importance of these skills in hiring decisions. Teamwork is not only about communication; it's also about your approach to collaboration. To enhance your teamwork skills, try working in diverse environments with people you wouldn't normally meet.

Organisations today seek a diverse workforce to bring varied ideas, opinions, and skills that contribute to the overall success of the company. Embrace this diversity to learn from others, share your experiences, and explore new perspectives together. If your current job doesn't provide these opportunities, consider volunteering, supporting groups that interest you, or doing pro-bono work.

With the current workforce constantly evolving, employers value individuals who can adapt to new situations and teams. This requires cultural sensitivity and an understanding of different working styles. By embracing these changes and continuously developing your ability to work effectively in diverse teams, you position yourself as an asset in any professional environment.

 

Often the weakest…

While numerous soft skills are important, sharing too many can dilute the message that you should focus on mastering a few key skills first before expanding your repertoire. Shifting our focus, we also inquired with our three guests about the soft skill they commonly find lacking in job seekers today.

Communication

Michał and Benas both highlighted communication, which is unsurprising. In the technology ecosystem, it's crucial to tailor your communication style to suit the interviewer. This means adapting your language and approach when speaking to non-technical stakeholders, ensuring you can effectively present your skills and yourself to all decision-makers in the most favourable way.

 

Time Management

Many job seekers struggle with time management, a challenge evident in two key areas. First, in the way they respond to questions during an interview, and second, in how they handle live challenges with a team. Benas and Margaret noted that poor time management is a frequent issue.

To improve, structure your interview answers clearly and concisely. Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to craft a narrative that engages the interviewer and adds value to the discussion. Ensure that each response directly addresses the question and remains focused. Remember, in an interview, time is limited, and you need to make a strong impression quickly.

When participating in a coding session, apply probing questions to delve deeper, ask for clarification, and seek feedback. This approach helps you concentrate your efforts on the most relevant areas and demonstrates effective time management.

 

Conflict Resolution

Margaret also highlighted conflict resolution as a particularly challenging skill for many job seekers on the market, but more specifically conflict resolution in a construct manner. The difficulty in acquiring this skill often stems from our innate tendency to hold firmly to our opinions, especially when they are challenged. To overcome this, Margaret advises seeking active feedback post conflicts. This involves asking colleagues, supervisors, and others for input on what was handled well and areas for improvement, paying attention to aspects like tone, facial expressions, and communication style. Additionally, she recommends exploring both free and paid courses on conflict resolution to acquire new strategies and techniques, which can be applied in future situations.

 

Hopefully throughout this article you have picked up several elements in how you can improve to better your chances within your next hiring process. Soft skills very much are equal to hard skills, being aware of what is sought after in the current market and where many job seekers are making mistakes will give you the opportunity to navigate with more precision, standing out and progressing easier.

It is important to remember however, soft skills are a gradual progression in many cases. It is muscle memory, working at it for a week won’t give you the improvement you need for a lifetime. Set goals, reflect on your journey, and take it in your stride.

If you believe someone else could benefit from this article, please share so we can collectively bring simplicity to the chaos of recruitment.

0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Kommentit


bottom of page