Some people think that hiring is all about bringing in applicants with strong technical skills. These skills are important, but are they enough?
In today's highly competitive world, it is often the softer skills that differentiate applicants and determine who will be hired, who will be successful and who will move up in the organization.
Leaders and project managers will tell you that most of their time is spent trying to get colleagues to work more effectively together or treat one another with respect. They will note that the "people problems" in their company drain their energy.
One study by American Express found that more than 60 percent of managers agreed that "soft skills" are the most important factor when evaluating an employee's performance.
What are the soft skills employers are looking for? Some of the most important:
Integrity. Ethical and honest.
Work ethic. Dependable and hardworking, willing to go the extra mile.
Being a team player. Working well with others (i.e., having a pleasant personality and working for the team versus being a bully, manipulator, backstabber or self-centered striver.)
Positive attitude and enthusiasm. Optimistic, upbeat, ability to generate good energy.
Adaptability and flexibility. Employers get frustrated with employees who are resistant to change and are rigid or unable to adapt to new directions.
Communication and confidence. A good listener who is able to clearly and concisely articulate points, spoken or in writing, using appropriate body language.
Openness and receptivity to feedback. Soliciting feedback and being willing to listen to it and make needed changes to improve; learning from criticism.
Creative thinking. Being open to innovation and able to think outside the box.
Critical thinking and problem solving. Being able to analyze information and put it together; being able to see the relationships among various functional areas to address problems.
Collaboration, conflict management and negotiation skills. Being able to work effectively with others and address conflict as it arises; being able to persuade and influence others.