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Posted at: Oct 12, 2016, 12:25 AM; last updated: Oct 12, 2016, 12:25 AM (IST)NEWSBOARD

Soft skills that job seekers must develop to get hired

Pooja Kamat

If you are a job seeker, you now know what hirers look for. Get your soft skills in place to clinch your next opportunity in no time.

Soft skills are a major game changer in the job market. These skills or the lack of them determine whether a specific person will fit into a dynamic work culture or not. While it may be easy for employers to find someone with sound technical skills matching a profile like language proficiency or programming, it is scanning for intangible soft skills in a new hire that gives recruiters a hard time. A healthy balance between business knowledge and soft skills is what recruiters look for because they go a long way in an organisation's success.

Here are a few soft skills that job seekers must develop and showcase when interviewing with prospective employers. 

1 Flexibility and enthusiasm : Being flexible and adaptable is an asset because it's a sign that no matter which situation you are put in, you will fine tune accordingly and give it your best shot. When you are not scared of being thrown out of your comfort zone, it ups your dependability quotient. If given a hypothetical situation to prove your skills, show enthusiasm. However, do not fake enthusiasm because recruiters are smart & experienced, and know when you're not being genuine. When you are consistent in your responses, they will know that you're a perfect hire. 

2 Take initiative and lead with a problem-solving approach: In your interview, highlight instances where you've taken initiative and led projects proactively. This applies not only for big projects but also for the smallest of tasks. What employers want to gauge is how much of an initiative-taker are you and whether you like to lead and not just follow. It helps them analyse your approach towards problems and identify potential.

3 Self-awareness: 'What are your strengths and limitations' is the most frequently asked question in job interviews. Admitting that you have a few weaknesses makes you more suitable for a job than when you try to fake it and highlight your strengths only. For example, you may also be asked about your work style. It helps employers want to understand if you are collaborative in nature and enjoy working with teams or prefer doing everything on your own. The way you prefer to function helps them  gauge how self-aware you are. 

4 No bloated ego: Many interviewers ask candidates to narrate experiences that have been rewarding and also a few that they think were mistakes they aren't proud of. A person who claims that everything about them is perfect is clearly identified as one who has a bloated ego and will not admit to it when they make mistakes. Such an individual can never make a good team player and they are usually the ones who spoil the environment in a team. Employers would not like bringing in such people into their organisations. 

5 Inquisitive and hungry to learn: Towards the end of the interview, most times candidates shy away from asking questions about the company they're being hired for even when they are asked to. While some recruiters may think it is ok, others think that asking questions is a genuine sign of their inquisitiveness. Probing questions on work culture, team hierarchy (vertical and lateral), growth opportunities, work from home setup, trainings (onsite and offsite) and mid-year and annual review criteria show that you are interested in knowing how the organisation works. 

— The writer is Head, Content Development, Work Better

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