By Debra Ritter
Oct. 4, 2012
The demand for employees with social skills is high among companies. When it comes to hiring, not only is an individual’s ability to accomplish a specified task or perform a given function determined, but also the need for a set of social skills to match. Most companies cannot afford to dispense quality in customer care and service while lagging behind in differentiating itself from the competition. For this reason and many others, having excellent social skills are necessary.
Below are six social skills employers seek and why it’s important to practice (and even master) them:
Communication skills are the language in which individuals express themselves. From eye contact to the fluidity in conversation, employers want to feel a sense of connection. Candidates must be able to effectively communicate their skills to potential employers in the hopes of getting hired. The ability to communicate technical items in layman’s terms is one example of excellent communication skills and an asset to any individual. Dependent upon the job, employers consider written and oral communication skills equally important and want to know there is a strong presence for both. There has been quite a change with the technology age and how people will “choose” to communicate. Face-to-face communication is still the best way to come to understanding and to build relationship between two individuals.
One of the most important things a potential employee can do to stand out from the crowd is to exude confidence. Confidence can be shown in many forms- the initial handshake, articulation, defining strengths and weaknesses, etc. A confident individual is one who will strive to do their best in the job and be confident in their abilities to complete their daily job duties. A confident candidate will always follow up with his/her willingness to learn and support this statement through a successful past work history. Having a positive attitude is visible and will shine during the interview process.
Employers are passionate about their job and they want to be sure their next employee will be too. The more passionate an employee is about a particular organization, the more likely it is that he or she will strive to exceed expectations if they are hired. A good candidate will have read up on the firm, researched the products and services they offer and read about the executives who work there. A typical line of questioning could involve an employer asking a prospective applicant what their future goals and plans are. This gives employers the opportunity to see where their passions lie and also an understanding of long- and short-term goals. Employers want to know candidates will not only be dedicated to the job, but also have a passion for it.
The first impression you make on a potential employer is the most important one. Dressing the part for a job interview can be as important as what your resume says about you. Remember the saying ‘Dress for Success’? It still holds value and truth. Companies look at their employees as the face of their product and hold high expectations for that representation. Come to an interview dressed the way you want to be perceived-smart, composed and knowledgeable.
A risk taker doesn’t break the rules — they challenge them. Employers want to see that potential employees are able to take smart risks. Taking risks signifies that a person has the ability to think ‘outside the box’ and more importantly, get results. Risk takers execute bold ideas and originate new services and solutions. These individuals don’t fear change, they embrace it. While taking risks is something to be managed, it is also a skill employers seek.
When interviewing a prospective candidate, employers want to see that the candidate is personable and relatable. An important step is to have a dialogue with an employer. When asked a question such as “Tell me about yourself,” it is important for potential employees to highlight their experience that specifically relates to the position as well as discussing personal hobbies and interests. Employers want to make sure that candidates are balanced and someone they could spend every workday with. In the end, the interview will be remembered if the conversation was less about answering questions and more about forming a connection between two people.
Debi Ritter is director of Human Resources for UHY LLP, one of the nation’s 20 largest accounting firms. She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources and has nearly 20 years of HR management experience. She can be reached at (586) 843-2518 or [email protected].