Your personal skill set and demonstrating how it makes you perfect for the job you are applying for is the key to a successful interview.
What tends to happen in interviews however is that you will lean heavily on your hard skills, (your qualifications, training and technical experience) and neglect many of your soft skills. The problem with this is that interviewers WANT to hear about your soft skills. They are of key value to an employer! Read on to find out why…
What is the difference between soft and hard skills?
Hard skills are sometimes referred to as technical skills, they are the experience you have gained through work experience to date, external training schemes or throughout your education. E.g. certifications from professional bodies, proficiency in different languages or Microsoft/ adobe experience.
Soft skills, or interpersonal skills, on the other hand, are a lot more difficult to demonstrate. They tell of your personality, behaviour and morals. E.g. patience, communication, problem-solving, time management, empathy
How important are soft skills to employers?
It would be naïve to believe that soft skills are less important than hard skills when it comes to interviews.
Think about it, the vast majority applying for the same role as you will possess the basic hard skills required for the job. Hard skills may also be taught on the job if necessary. Candidates with the right soft skills that will match the cultural fit of the company are much harder to find.
Soft skills become a real game-changer at interview stage, valued highly by the employer. In an interview, these soft skills demonstrate your ability to fit seamlessly into their working environment and work effectively with the rest of the team.
So, how do you demonstrate these skills?
Talk is cheap; employers want to hear the real-life examples that support your soft skills. Use instances of which you clearly demonstrate the soft skill you wish to highlight. The key to doing this clearly and without any waffle, as it is easy to lose track if you are nervous, is prep. Prepare 3 or 4 scenarios in which your soft skills have supported and helped you overcome a challenge in your working life.
What are the top soft skills?
Different employers will naturally favour different soft skills. However, as experts in the field, we know that some soft skills are valued higher than others across the board.
We have found that the top 3 soft skills for a candidate to possess are:
Based on over 20 years in the business of building careers, we have found that almost 60% of employers believe that soft skills are valued more within senior positions than entry-level roles. The further you progress in your career, the more important your soft skills become. The nice thing about this is that it becomes a lot easier over time to support your examples. As your career goes on you will have built up more real-life challenges within the working environment and undoubtedly used your soft skills to overcome these.
AT VANRATH all of our recruitment consultants are experts within their specialist sectors. They have in-depth knowledge of the local recruitment market which is unrivalled in Northern Ireland.
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