What are soft skills

Perth Human Resource Consulting Services - What are ‘soft skills’ and why do I need them at work?

October 6, 2015 | By Vanessa Wilson, Vitil

At Vitil Human Resource Consulting Services, Perth's boutique HR consulting specialist, we are asked what soft skills are and do I really need them? How do I improve my or my teams, soft skills? How will it impact my career or my team?

What are soft skills?

Soft skills for job seekers are a combination of personality-driven abilities such as teamwork and communication, attitude and social skills. How an applicant displays these will impact an employer's decision to consider them as a candidate.

Hard skills are job-specific abilities, such as typing and computer programming gained through undertaking a degree and further studies, which many candidates have a resume full of. These have afforded many candidates the knowledge and a newfound skill set to add to their portfolio, but inexperience and greenness to business have left them with an apparent lack of soft skills.

At Vitil Human Resource Consulting Services Perth we believe people can be trained in the hard skills required for a job much more easily than they can be trained in the soft skills, and in the current tight Perth recruitment services market, there are many candidates with the hard skills, so the differentiating factors are a candidates soft skills.

Most Perth managers have had their share of experiences with employees who technically are first rate, but more and more employers are open to considering less qualified candidates but with highly impressive soft skills.

Which are the soft skills that employers value the most?

Accordingly Perth's resource consulting services at Vitil suggest that the soft skills that are of most value, are:

  • Honesty and integrity
  • Strong work ethic
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Self-motivated
  • High energy / positive attitude
  • Team player

How can an employer improve soft skills in Perth businesses?

Soft skills are innate in a person and having technical skills to be able to perform a role is good, but technical skills without soft skills, can make life miserable for everyone around them in the process.

Developing soft skills in the workplace requires onboarding programs that focuses on soft skills and can be taught through experiential learning; interactive teaching workshops or workplace coaching. Soft skills are strengthened and developed over time and are more effectively developed through on-the-job learning and face-to-face training initiatives. It can take time to teach the necessary soft skills like communication, team work, positivity, but it is not impossible. Also ensuring a business surrounds new candidates with a team who have strong soft skills, will also assist to encourage and reinforce the desired behaviour.

Employers are seeing the benefits of having a more well-rounded individual who can interact with the team and clients, and have that can-do attitude who are solutions driven. Plus with these soft skills comes leadership potential, problem solving ability, delegating, motivating, and team building skills. Knowing how to get along with people – and displaying a positive attitude – are crucial for success, both for the employer as well as the employee.

Perth's Human Resource Consulting services at Vitil, often coach many young leaders in these soft skills and with their eagerness to learn and build a strong team, they are open and willing to change.

Recruitment Consulting and Soft Skills

Vitil's recruitment consulting human services have met with many candidates who have the hard skill, but when combined with soft skills; honesty, hard work, positivity and eagerness, they have a candidate that will become a high-level team player. And when you secure a candidate that has a good cultural fit too, you find a long term employee with personal accountability who assimilates easily into a workplace.

In summary, the time it takes to recruit and train some skills that may be lacking, is truly nothing compared to the energy that gets zapped from an employee who lacks critical soft skills. However while the tug of war between the importance of soft skills versus hard skills in the workplace can go in either direction, the fact is both skill sets are essential to thrive in Perth's businesses today which builds diversity, therefore we need to ensure that Perth businesses have training initiatives that focus on developing both skill sets.

As a job seeker, the responsibility is on the candidate to do a self-check on how they present to prospective employers, both in hard and soft skills.

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