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What are Soft Skills and Why are they So Important to Your Organization?



In recent surveys, business leaders have cited the lack of soft skills in the American workforce as a vital concern.  In fact, 67% of senior execs say that soft skills are a major characteristic missing in job candidates.

Companies in the job training and placement industries  agree. On, Larry Buhl of Yahoo HotJobs advises job seekers, “You’ll likely see these ‘soft skills’ popping up in job descriptions, next to demands for technical qualifications. Employment experts agree that tech skills may get you an interview, but these soft skills will get you the job — and help you keep it.”

So, how do you know if a job candidate has the necessary soft skills needed to be a valuable team player in your organization?  There are selection and recruitment tools that will help you determine if a job candidate has the skills needed for:


Most job candidates don’t need to be brilliant orators or write lengthy manuals, but they do need to be able to express themselves well.  However, organizations need them to write a coherent memo, possibly persuade others with a presentation and calmly and effectively communicate with team members.

Teamwork and Collaboration

Organizations want team members who play well with others – who can effectively work as part of a team. “That means sometimes being a leader, sometimes being a good follower, monitoring the progress, meeting deadlines and working with others across the organization to achieve a common goal,” says Lynne Sarikas, the MBA Career Center Director at Northeastern University.


This soft skill is especially important today with the business climate changing to keep up with advances in technology. A job candidate should have a passion for learning and the ability to grow and stretch their skills to adapt to changing needs in the organization.

Problem Solving

It behooves an organization to look for people who can participate in solutions to a tough business problem. As work forces are cut and corporations downsize, key staff members need to be able to think on their feet and resolve issues before they become major problems.

Critical Observation

It’s not enough to be able to collect data and manipulate it. Organizations should look for new hires who are able to analyze and interpret it. What story does the data tell? What questions are raised? Are there different ways to interpret the data? A person with the ability to analyze and suggest possible next steps is an asset to any team.

Conflict Resolution

All things being equal, a candidate who can persuade, negotiate and resolve conflict should have the leg-up on any short list. Lynne Sarikas goes further “A candidate should be able to negotiate win-win solutions to serve the best interests of the company and the individuals involved.”

Testing for these soft skills will help you: 1) zero in on the best new hire for your organization 2) select the right person in your organization for a promotion to a management position.

Contact Management Development Solution to see how you can test for these invaluable soft skills: or call 254-776-6306

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