Nailing the interview: Soft skills trump technical skills

Good communication skills are more valuable than knowing PowerPoint inside and out, according to a new survey, in which 67% of human resources managers said they would hire someone with strong soft skills even if their technical abilities were lacking.

The way HR managers see it, technical skills are easier to teach than soft skills.

In the competitive business world, even little things can help you stand out. Use these tips to navigate the proper business etiquette and protocol

When interviewing for a job, determine whether the hiring manager cares more about “hard” qualifications, such as your technical experience, or “soft” skills, such as your work ethic.

How? Mention one of each in the same sentence and then note follow-up questions.

For example, say, “I bring an advanced understanding of finance along with the ability to lead.” If you’re asked to elaborate on your leadership, look for chances to weave in your other management strengths.

What you say is as important as how you say it. Learn business protocol from the experts — and use their tips to advance your career. Business Protocol Handbook

The survey then asked HR managers which soft skills were most important to them. Their rankings:

Organizational skills 87%

Verbal communication 81%

Teamwork and collaboration 78%

Problem solving 60%

Tact and diplomacy 59%

Business writing 48%

Analytical skills 45%

Bottom line: Now is the perfect time to take the plunge. Target a soft skill you’d like to improve upon, such as verbal communication or negotiation. Then sign up for a course, seminar or conference to help you do it.

Business Protocol Handbook is your own personal business-etiquette class. You’ll learn:
  • The importance of a handshake, and how to deliver one
  • The right and wrong times for small talk with a client
  • Three tips for composing business e-mails
  • How to treat a VIP in your office
  • How to show appreciation
  • Five rules to keep in mind at a business lunch
  • How to deal with difficult callers
  • The most offensive thing an employee can do in the office
  • And much more!