You’ve polished your resume, updated your references and picked up your best outfit from the dry cleaners. You’re ready for that big interview. But while your experience and qualifications may match the position perfectly, have you given any thought to your soft skills?
Soft skills include a person’s attitude, workplace behavior, values and ethics. Increasingly, employers are looking at soft skills as the deciding factor when choosing between two applicants.
Harry Weimann, director of education at WyoTech Blairsville and a business owner since 1986, says he wishes he would have learned to look for the appropriate skills long ago.
‘As a business owner for many years, I’ve hired several employees,’ Weimann says. ‘Some were talented workers, but I never could pinpoint why I rarely got the person I was looking for. Working for WyoTech opened my eyes to what I was missing – soft skills.’
Weimann says employers view an employee who shows up on time, performs the job correctly and respects others as being more valuable in many cases than an employee who is technically competent but shows up late, is sloppily dressed and has a poor attitude. Because of this, employers are looking harder at soft skills when hiring in the current market.
‘For some reason, organizations seem to expect people to know how to behave on the job or have the right soft skills,’ says Weimann. ‘The assumption is that everyone knows the importance of being on time, being accountable, having integrity and being a team player, but is that fair to expect without communicating that during the interview process?’
When you head to that big interview, you should expect to face some soft skill questions. These may include:
* What is your definition of integrity?
* What does it mean to be accountable?
* What is your definition of common sense?
* What is your definition of customer service?
* What are your feelings regarding deadlines?
* How do you handle high-pressure situations?
* Tell me an example of how you’ve resolved a conflict in the past.
Make sure you are able to answer each of these questions with the same accuracy and confidence you would apply to any question about your resume. As employers continue to search for candidates with the right professional and soft skills, it is up to you to prove that you are qualified in both.