Monday, July 9, 2007

Soft skills - A hard requirement

Any job interview would focus on technical skills (your expertise on the subject matters) & soft skills (your communication, interpersonal skills, motivation, commitment etc.,). It is mandatory to have a proper mix of both technical & softskills. There are folks who do exceptionally well in technical interviews - but they still do not get selected because of the lack of soft skills (& vice versa).

What are some of the soft skills that employers look for? Some of the soft skills that people look for, are - communication, commitment, self-motivation, eagerness to learn, willingness to perform, creative thinking, hard working nature, team player, listening, punctuality, confidence, leadership, putting up your best etc., Employers can easily judge many of these skills during the interviews - so don't try to cheat. You should be able to give specific examples for each of your 'soft-skill'. For example, the interviewer may ask "Tell me a situation where you have to learn things on your own & perform". You should be able to give a specific situation as example. That will improve your credibility.

If you are a college graduate, you may ask "How do I groom my soft skills in college?" College life provides you several opportunities to shape up your personality & to develop your skills. You can organize/involve in all sorts of college activities. For example, participating in debates & speech contests would help in improving your listening/communication skills. You can also become a member of a nearby Toastmasters club to improve your communication/listening/leadership skills. Conducting various symposiums & organizing functions would help to groom your leadership & team playing skills. Conducting mock interviews would boost your confidence. You can also pick up some of the soft skills effectively by reading good books.

If you are out of college, you can get acquainted with non-profit organizations to do service or any kind of social work. You would get enough opportunities to hone your organizational/leadership skills.

Developing your soft skills is more challenging than learning technical stuff. Some of your characteristics may be in-born (or engraved during childhood days). It would be hard to get rid of some bad behavior. However, if you try consciously you'll be able to overcome your limitations.

Soft skills are a hard requirement for hi-tech jobs. You better develop them, when it is not too late.

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