'Soft skills' rank high on employers' wish list
By Diane Stafford
Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 7:03 p.m.
Hirers say communication and reasoning skills are sadly lacking in too many applicants. And because it costs them time and money when they make hiring mistakes, employers increasingly are giving skills and personality tests before giving job offers.
At a recent meeting of job recruiters and hirers, I heard several members emphasize the basic abilities they look for when they evaluate job candidates. Attitude, communication and a basic work-ready appearance, topped their wish lists.
Advisers at Johnson County Community College's Career Development Center said the hirers' comments dovetailed with survey findings from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. In the association's new Top 10 list of qualities sought in employees, technical knowledge and software proficiency were ranked No. 7 and No. 8, respectively.
In top-to-bottom order, the other sought-after qualities all fell in either the communication or “soft skill” categories. They were:
Ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization; ability to work in a team structure; ability to make decisions and solve problems; ability to plan, organize and prioritize work; ability to obtain and process information; ability to analyze quantitative data; ability to create and/or edit written reports, and ability to sell or influence others.
These are the same skills that separate A and B students from the rest of the pack. Top performers in the classroom “get” the assignment and do it better than just OK.
Diane Stafford is a writer for The Kansas City Star. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Wages have soared in Pittsburgh, but economy appears to have stalled
- Emboldened by Italy move, QVC to expand into France
- Consol Energy transitions as leadership changes hands
- Region’s largest bank PNC posts 7% rise in 1Q profit
- PPG shareholders vote against proposals; sales, profit see double-digit increases
- Secret Service close to understanding Target data breach
- Fed Beige Book survey: Growth picks up across most of U.S. but not in Pittsburgh region
- Wal-Mart rolls out money transfer service
- Former BP employee settles insider-trading charges
- Facebook feature lets users locate nearby pals
- Target expands subscription service tenfold