Soft Skills Sought After in the Business World

Soft Skills Sought After in the Business World

The job market has had a lot of changes lately. Businesses have had to cut hours or layoff completely. Good employees have had to take other jobs for a full-time paycheck. Some businesses have closed, and those business owners need to find a new source of income. Now that the world has started to reopen, you may find yourself either looking to hire or looking for a job.

Whichever side of the road you fall on, there are a few tips you can use to make this transition easier. Specialized knowledge and technical abilities are important but those are easier to teach. Having soft skills like personality and behavior skills is what will set a person apart because those are the harder skills to teach.  

While it is important to hire an employee that has some or all of the specific skills to get the job done, the soft skills are needed to be successful in the role and fit into the team dynamic. Employers are now looking at soft skills such as communication, teamwork, creativity, and problem-solving when looking at potential job candidates. Whether you are a business owner looking to hire, or on the hunt for a new job, soft skills will help you reach those goals.

What are Soft Skills?

Businesses owners are starting to find that most beneficial skills employees possess are those that defined as soft skills. These are the traits that contribute to how employees interact with each other in the workplace and with customers. Soft skills are essential traits that can really make it or break it when it comes to getting things done at work. Four big soft skills that you want to do well in your career are communication, teamwork, creativity, and problem-solving.

Communication & Teamwork

Communication and teamwork are so important because most jobs involve talking and working well with others, whether is be to a customer, a big presentation, to your boss, or just carrying on a conversation within your team. Effective communication are weak points for many companies causing performance and productivity challenges. A lot of times communication and teamwork go hand in hand because they are vital to each other, you can’t have one without the other.

Creativity & Problem-Solving

A person’s ability to think outside the box and solve workplace problems is another key component. Employers want employees that can think creatively and bring new perspectives to the workplace. In the working world, you will come across problems every day. How you approach and overcome those problems will determine how far you go in your career. You don’t want someone on the team to hit a roadblock and give up. Your team needs someone who can confidently take on a problem and think of different ways to solve it.

The Interview

Interviews are stressful on both sides. There is a lot of anxiety of if you get the job or if you are hiring the right person for your team. How do you look for, or showcase soft skills in an interview? There are questions you can ask in an interview to assess soft skills (and if you know how employers are looking for soft skills, you can showcase them!)  

Here are some popular questions to access soft skills and how your answer will reflect those skills;

Tell me about a time when you overcame a workplace challenge.  

This question is a great problem-solver question that also gives a chance to show off some creativity. You want an example that shows he or she went down different avenues or brainstormed different ideas until they found the best solution. If you are going in for an interview, be ready for a question like this on one form or another and have your example ready in your head. You don’t want to flounder in the interview and quickly use something that doesn’t showcase your soft skills as well.

Tell me about a time when you worked as part of a group.

Here we have a teamwork question. You want an example that tells about the entire team succeeding, not just the individual. If the story that comes to mind is one where the individual personally succeeds or “rescues” the team when he or she got there, it indicates poor teamwork and low self-awareness. You want a story where tasks were given to each team member and together, they all succeeded.

Tell me how you would describe a complex idea or problem to a client.

This question can be used to access communication skills and how well he or she knows the role they are interviewing for. Customize this question to your business and look for an answer that breaks down the task in simple and easy to understand steps. If you are being asked this question, take a deep breath. You know this. Slow down your thoughts and break it down as if you were talking to someone who has no idea what you do for a living.

Tell me about a way you have encouraged innovation in the workplace.

Here is our creativity question. With this one, you will be able to see if he or she is encouraging creativity from others, and how they went about doing this. Good answers will involve some sort of brainstorming session where everyone got a chance to share their ideas with the team to be built on.

Whether you are hiring, or looking for a new job, soft skills are something you definitely need. Take the time to really prepare for your search, know what you want, and make a plan for how you are going to reach your goal. This goes for both sides.