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Soft skills in demand: Jobseekers with interpersonal, leadership and organisational skills wanted


Thursday 28th July 2011 1 Comment

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Interpersonal, leadership and organisational skills are highly valued soft skills, yet jobseekers often overlook their importance when applying for their next role, says recruiting experts Hays.

“Candidates tend to focus on the technical or hard skills required for a role and brush over the soft skills components of an employer’s wish list,” says Jason Walker, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand. “Yet these soft skills are highly sought after by employers, who are typically looking for a candidate who not only possesses all the technical requirements needed to perform the role, but who can also bring these additional soft skills to the organisation.

“There is a shortage of candidates with the right technical skills as well as the additional soft skills that employers want in many areas. Some employers are becoming more flexible in their requirements and will offer training to a candidate who is otherwise a good fit for the role. But others will hold out for a candidate that matches all their skill requirements – both hard and soft.

“That’s why it is important to promote your soft skills in your resume and in interviews with clear examples, and to seek out opportunities in your current role where you can improve upon these skills.”

According to Hays, the three soft skills that employers most commonly request are:

• Interpersonal and communication skills: “Widely held as a key requirement, interpersonal and communication skills can include anything from being able to work efficiently as part of a team and build relationships, to the manner in which phone calls and emails are handled, to giving presentations in front of clients and management,” said Jason. “These skills are highly desirable, which is why we advise candidates to prepare examples before an interview to demonstrate your capabilities in this area.”

• Team management and leadership skills: “These skills are repeatedly cited as being important to employers, yet talented individuals with these skills are in short supply across the board. For this reason we encourage candidates to attain these good employability skills. For example, you could volunteer to chair meetings, help run a team project or mentor a junior member of the team.”

• Organisational skills: “Organisational skills are also commonly cited by employers as a soft skill they value and look for, but it is also a skill many candidates either lack or do not give enough attention to. There are plenty of ways you can demonstrate your organisational skills, from running events to breaking a large project down into manageable pieces or planning your busy workload to ensure all tasks get done on time.”

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Comments from our readers

On 4 August 2011 at 3:45 am Tess said:
It's indeed hard to find many employees who possess technical hard skills as well as good deal of soft skills. The best way how organizations achieve this is by recruiting candidates with good technical skills and walking them through regular soft skills training sessions.
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