When it comes to hiring, promoting, or even keeping an employee, managers seem most concerned by an individual’s repertoire of technical skills. Developers need to know how to write code. Administrative assistants need to type 100+ words per minute. Accountants need to be certified.
But let’s consider the administrative assistant for a moment. Would you rather work with someone who has a positive and upbeat attitude and is always willing to pitch in, or with someone who is inflexible and has a hard time admitting mistakes?
The answer should be obvious.
As we mentioned in our previous post, “What Are Soft Skills?,” 93 percent of HR Managers say technical skills are much easier to teach than soft skills—work ethic, communication skills, emotional intelligence, and a whole host of personal attributes that are crucial for career success.
What we find a bit frightening is that 44 percent of top executives report this skill set as the largest gap experienced in the workforce. And 14 percent believe this gap is most prominent when it comes to the crucial skill of leadership.
Yes, technical skills will get you in the door today, but soft skills will open future doors. Team building, motivating, and delegating are all much easier for those with excellent soft skills. Still, however, the importance of these skills continues to be greatly undervalued.
The biggest mistake companies seem to make is assuming that people know how to behave on the job.
You wouldn’t hire a new software engineer without testing his or her technical aptitude, correct? So why not give the same consideration to soft skills? You cannot assume that everyone knows and understands the importance of being on time, taking initiative, being friendly, and producing quality work.
Yes, it seems like common sense; but sadly, good sense is anything but common.
Considering how time-consuming and expensive it is to hire a new employee, it’s crucial to evaluate these skills properly during the hiring process. Just how costly is this process? Check out this wonderful infographic over at the HuffPo on the True Cost of Hiring Employees. The fact is you’re going to spend hundreds of dollars before you even sit down with a potential candidate! Shouldn’t you make that money count?