Soft Skills Often Make All the Difference

One of my clients recently shared a recruiter job requisition with me. It was so on point that it could have been written just for him. But more importantly, two things stood out immediately …

This recruiter had intimate knowledge of both the company and the position. That is exactly the kind of recruiter relationship every candidate, current and future, should want to be pursuing. When a recruiter has a strong relationship with its client company, it translates to better hires who fit within the corporate culture. I also believe it is a pretty good indicator that communication within the company, at least at the senior leadership level, is strong.

Further, retention is still a very critical issue for most companies (a recent study suggests only 23% of HR is even concerned with retention) and that translates to a huge expense, both in money and in productivity.

The emphasis on “soft skills.” A full page of preferred personal attributes was included in the 10-page requisition. This particular client is fully immersed in the branding process, and this list, obviously key points for the company culture, affirmed for him the importance of distinguishing himself with a strong brand.

And it isn’t just Chief Financial Officers possessing strong personal attributes that is critical, either. According to a recent Robert Half survey, CFOs look for integrity and strong communication/interpersonal skills in selecting top managers for promotion.

So what are you doing for your brand and your recruiter network today?

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6 thoughts on “Soft Skills Often Make All the Difference”

  1. Cindy,

    This topic really caught my attention and you might guess why since we are colleagues in understanding the DISC-based behavioral/communication style concepts.

    Soft skills need to be a good match between the employee and the job description for career satisfaction. Employers do look for the appropriate soft-skills for specific positions and it is important that the traits used in the marketing materials for job seekers are accurate and can be substantiated.

    According to a survey, conducted by the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, soft skills are as critical as basic skills to employers who are looking to hire and retain workers.

    Certain soft skills are more important than others in different positions. The order of priority in the list of important soft skills differs for a sales and marketing position than for another type of position. For example, selling is more than just persuasion. Empathy may be important for coaching, but it can get in your way when selling.

    It’s important to measure the “intensity levels” of given soft skills to be certain of a good match between the employee and the job requirements.

    Soft skills are measured and easily identified from the DISC Behavioral Assessments and ensure accuracy for branding and interpersonal skill discussion.

    A sample soft skill list which is measured with the assessment tools used by Authorized DISC Administrators is as follows:

    Self-Management (time and priorities)
    Planning / Organizing
    Customer Service
    Written Communication
    Futuristic Thinking
    Interpersonal Skills
    Personal Effectiveness
    Continuous Leadership
    Goal Orientation
    Employee Development / Coaching
    Creativity / Innovation
    Decision Making
    Analytical Problem Solving
    Conflict Management


  2. Cindy

    Thanks again for your valuable insight to CFOs who are searching for their next career opportunity.

    On point with retention – I recommend strongly to any CFO candidates to assess what the onboarding strategy is for any position that they may consider taking.

    When we work with our clients on CFO mandates, Onboarding is a key offering we deliver as part of the search process to ensure a successful CFO hire. Many times we get called in to work on a replacement search for a CFO after the hire does not go well. Many times this happens because ensuring Onboarding was either ignored or not given appropriate consideration by the Company or new CFO.

    Samuel Dergel, CA, CPA, CPC
    Senior Partner and Practice Leader, CFO Search
    Twitter: @cfo2grow and @cfo2dergel

    • Excellent – and spot on – points, Samuel. Recruiting / hiring is too expensive a process for either party to fall short on the post-hire (onboarding) side.

  3. Hi Cindy,
    The trend continues to emerge in news reports, interviews w/execs (as your post clearly shows), and formal studies — people skills are critical to success.

    It makes sense. Occupational knowledge and skills connect only with the rest of the organization through people (interpersonal) skills. Interacting with leadership, teammates, colleagues, and clients/customers — all require great people skills.

    Your example of the job description speaks volumes — 10 pages!

    As we as coaches, trainers, and consultants, we continue to grow our skills as well. Here is a post I think expands your insight. 6 key things to learn. I welcome your #7!
    The Best Professional People Skills to Learn for Work

    Many thanks,
    Kate Nasser


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