Lack of soft competences in a CV often means that a person with professional experience has difficulty finding a job. What competencies and features are most often sought by employers and how do they diagnose them during the interview?
As a rule, to receive an invitation to an interview, our CV must include areas of professional experience that will correspond with the tasks that we will have to perform in a new job. However, the mere fact that we did exactly what we were doing in the previous job was not enough to get a job. Employers not only expect experience, they want their employees also to have features or soft skills that will allow them to work effectively in a team and grow in a company.
1. The desire to develop
This is usually the reason given by the candidates for changing jobs during the recruitment meeting. And this is also the reason that is understood and desired by employers. As long as it is real and not just a declaration. Therefore, most employers will check whether this desire for development actually exists and whether the employee takes responsibility for his or her development, or expects that the employer will take care of him and the employee will give him nothing.
You can develop in many ways – through interesting tasks, training and workshops, literature, contact with experienced, inspiring people, etc. If you declare that you are looking for challenges and development, then it is logical that you care about this development, that is, you tried to expand your own competences. If your current employer does not want to invest in training or conferences or gives you boring, standard tasks, then these development paths are closed for you in this job. This does not mean, however, that you cannot grow. You can read – literature or industry articles. You can look for free training. You can inquire and model yourself on experienced colleagues or experts in your field.
The second question, which can be a trap for job seekers, is in which areas do you want to grow. What skills to get? What is development for you? Any training – wrong answer. Training in managerial skills – a good answer. New tasks – not the best answer. Tasks requiring more responsibility or initiative – a much better answer.
Development questions that arise during an interview usually serve two things: checking if the reasons for your job change are true and whether development is really important to you or if you cite this argument because it is “fashionable and convenient”. Most employers will prefer a development worker who will learn with the company and will be able to do more and better in the future.
2. Motivation to work
What motivates you to work is an indicator of whether your employer will be able to keep you in the company or whether he will be able to create a work environment that suits you. This is not about giving you pleasure, but about efficiency. The employer believes that by giving you the right elements you need and expect, you will get reliably completed tasks that will affect the development of the company. So if you are motivated by money – the employer’s question is, “is his job worth so much and can I afford to pay him as much as he wants?” If you’re motivated to do new things, the question is, “Am I able to provide him with constant challenges?” Regardless of what motivates you, your employer wants something to motivate you. So that you would like to come to work, do tasks, try.
It may be hard to imagine, but people who do not care about anything exist. It also happens that during the interview the candidate cannot show that he cares about anything. There is no motivation to work with him. Employers generally do not want such people in their company.
Commitment is likely to predict how an employee will be doing at work. People involved care about work, the company, their results, colleagues. These people want to learn, correct their mistakes, show initiative, are willing to act and help. Commitment does not mean working overtime and on weekends or doing anything more than your duties. You can leave work evenly after 8 hours, but still be a highly engaged employee.
How is engagement diagnosed? This item can be checked at several levels:
- at the level of behavior – this is how we speak (with passion, energy, going into the subject, showing interest in body posture itself – e.g. careful listening, when the employer tells us about the position and its tasks)
- at the level of communication – how do we talk about our previous work, do we talk about what was interesting for us, pleasant development, do we ask questions about the new job, are we interested in the company itself, its products or services.
Commitment is studied throughout the entire interview. It may appear already when the candidate behaves after entering the office – or looks around with interest, to the end of the meeting – e.g. questions asked to the employer.
The lack of commitment is demonstrated by:
- no interest in the job or position (e.g. no questions during or at the end of the conversation)
- Inability to answer questions, which was interesting or difficult in a previous job
- statement that you are looking for any job
- lack of energy in behavior (dismissive or indifferent attitude during the conversation)
Ingenuity, willingness to act, creativity, pursuit of a goal, going ahead – these are other faces of the initiative. Traits that not only entrepreneurs have, but also the best managers or specialists. At work, the initiative consists in the fact that the employee starts some activity that can benefit the company or team in which he works and does it independently, without receiving a business order.
Such an employee is particularly valuable for the employer – he will be the driving force of new activities in the company. He will notice a need (e.g. he will note that customers complain about difficulties in calling), find a solution to the situation or a way to look at the problem.
People without initiative passively carry out their duties – you can’t count on them proposing something and are usually overlooked in promotions.
5. Communication skills
Everyone knows how to communicate, right? This is the skill most often entered by the candidates in the CV. Meanwhile, practice does not confirm this. Communicability means that the candidate is able to answer the question with the whole sentence, and not with sentence equivalents or monosyllables. There is practically no profession where communication is not needed. Mainly because we work in a group, among other people and with them we also need to be able to communicate. A person who is so shy that he speaks very quietly, looks at the ground, does not look up and does not answer more than 3-4 words to the question, he is not a communicative person. Employers do not value such people. After all, they will have to talk to them somehow – pass on tasks, feedback, ask for suggestions and ideas. Even if you are applying for a job in which there is no direct contact with the client, this does not mean that you will not be prevented from getting a job by a counter-candidate with communication talent.
6. Learning to learn
The ability to learn is above all the ability to be able to translate the theoretical knowledge acquired into practice, and derive experience from experience to improve their skills. If an employer intends to invest in employee training and development, he must know that if he sends an employee for costly training, that employee will be able to use the acquired skills. People who cannot learn simply do not acquire new practical skills and repeat old mistakes.
Depending on the requirements of the workplace, other soft competences also count – e.g. self-confidence, assertiveness, patience, accuracy, etc. The 6 qualities listed above are, however, most often sought by the employer and if the interview fails to show the employer that we have, then the job opportunities – even with good qualifications – are significantly reduced.