Soft skills: what are they? and how to evaluate them?

What Are Soft Skills

If hard skills are obviously necessary for hiring, soft skills are more and more in demand. To please recruiters, you must value not only your technical skills, but also your transversal skills, because they are what will make you a pleasant employee.

Recruiters and managers are paying more attention to the ability to behave and interact effectively with others. These soft skills encompass a wide range of personal characteristics, some of which can be acquired through artistic (creative) or athletic activities (teamwork, stress resistance, etc.). Technical knowledge and professional skills are always required, but “soft skills” can help you stand out.

How can we define soft skills?

Soft skills have no single definition or translation. According to the Oxford dictionary, they are “personal characteristics that enable one to interact effectively and harmoniously with others.” Therefore, soft skills are diametrically opposed to hard skills, which are purely technical and academic in nature.

What are the main soft skills to master in business?

The list below is based on separate lists by Jérôme Hoarau and Julien Bouret, as well as on the World Economic Forum’s ranking of soft skills to have in 2020.

Problem solving

In a context of change, employees must be solution-oriented,” says Jérôme Hoarau, “They must be able to improve a situation. The World Economic Forum discusses finding solutions to difficult problems. Julien Bouret talks about “decision making” in his own words: “Which choice do you feel most comfortable with? If you take responsibility for a choice, getting a project done and mobilizing others will be much easier.

Confidence

According to Jérôme Hoarau, “it is both confidence in oneself, to cope, but also confidence in others, and confidence in the future.” According to Julien Bouret, a manager must involve his teams to inspire confidence. “People will then feel valued…”.

Emotional intelligence

According to Julien Bouret, “emotional intelligence” or the management of emotions is the ability to recognize one’s own emotions as well as those of others in order to no longer suffer them.

Empathy

This means listening actively and positively to the other person, without judging or confusing them with yourself, and identifying, recognizing and understanding their emotions and feelings.

Communication

Everything is a question of communication, to pass on information, it is necessary to be concise, precise and clear.

Time management

According to Julien Bouret, one of the big problems we face is time management, we run all the time and we have trouble organizing ourselves.

“It’s not up to time to manage us, but to us to manage time” underlines Julien Bouret.

For this reason, he advises to start identifying the elements that make us waste more time, and to avoid multiplying tasks, not to undergo the daily routine … etc.

First of all, the cell phone on which we spend more and more time.

Stress management

There is no good stress, according to Julien Bouret, unless it is punctual. According to the coach, being permanently stressed is not normal. The brain is exhausted because it needs energy. Decision making becomes more difficult for the brain. Work, creativity and confidence are then more difficult.

Creativity

Connecting things, concepts and people is the key, according to Jérôme Hoarau. It opens the way to innovations.

Curiosity

According to Jerome Hoarau, who also included “learning to learn” in his list, “it allows us to learn new things, but also to learn from others and from ourselves.”

Boldness

It’s simply daring, coming up with new ideas, trying something new.

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At the time of the job interview, the recruiter evaluates you not only on your technical skills (hard skills) but also on your human and behavioral skills, often referred to as soft skills.

It is therefore important to know your own soft skills in order to impress your interviewer and avoid unpleasant surprises.

So take this test and tell us what your results were:

  • Question 1: You receive several e-mail alerts from your colleagues on a non-priority subject:

1. You have fixed time slots during the day to deal with the emails without breaking your concentration and organization, so you will deal with them at that time.

2. “Reach out, we’ll take your arm”, you prefer to answer when you have decided to. Otherwise, they might think you are at their beck and call.

3. You rush to answer these emails. It’s not a priority for you, but it probably is for them. At the risk of distracting yourself, you give them the time they need.

4. “I’ll do it later.” You know that at some point during the day, you will make time to deal with those emails. At worst, someone must have already come up with the answer!

  • Question 2: What do you consider to be the best qualities of an HR?

1. His analytical and organizational skills.

2. Charisma and persuasiveness.

3. His sympathy and generosity

4. Creativity and energy.

  • Question 3: When you participate in a debate, what is most important to you?

1. Proving that you are right with logical and Cartesian reasoning

2. Winning the debate, no holds barred!

3. Make sure that no one is upset and that everyone has, in some way, won

4. Come up with crazy ideas and arguments that no one would have thought of

  • Question 4: How would you describe your personal and professional environment?

1. Everything has a precise place and the whole is coherent, you can’t stand disorder.

2. You don’t mind clutter and most of the time, someone will organize your space for you. On the other hand, you can’t stand to have some of your things touched.

3. Whether at home or at work, you adapt very easily to others. You don’t want your family and colleagues to feel bad or oppressed by an environment they don’t like.

4. You like your “organized mess”. Alone you know where everything is and you live it very well!

  • Question 5: How would you describe your thought process?

1. Logical: you need your idea, whatever it is, to be justified.

2. Always result-oriented: take time to think, yes! But it must be profitable for you.

3. Deep: you never think without thinking about the context: how will people feel? How might your idea or project be interpreted?

4. Singular: when you think of something, you need to stand out from the crowd and come up with an idea that is out of the ordinary.

  • Question 6: How would you describe your ability to empathize with the feelings of others?

1. You don’t necessarily feel empathy, it’s a waste of time.

2. To feel empathy, yes, not for anyone. Simply, if it is for someone who could be useful to you.

3. You are an emotional sponge, you absorb all the emotions of others and have empathy in spades.

4. You feel empathy randomly, it happens from time to time, but always in an excessive and extreme way.

  • Question 7: How would you describe your work capacity?

1. Methodical and organized: you don’t let yourself be disturbed and you like to be rigorous in your schedules.

2. You are a workaholic, you never stop! Your job is your passion, you can work for hours and nights without stopping.

3. You tend to be easily distracted when giving a hand to your colleagues.

4. Nothing distracts you. You often work long hours because your ability to fly off into your thoughts and chat with your colleagues is immense.

  • Question 8: How would you characterize your attitude when working in a team?

1. You only intervene when ideas start to take an irrational turn.

2. You take the lead on the group, you steer the workshop and give the floor to the others when they ask to intervene.

3. You prefer to intervene when differences of opinion create tensions to calm all participants.

4. You give 50 ideas per second without really thinking about the feasibility. For you, the most important thing is not to brainstorm, but to have a choice in the directions.

  • Question 9: How do you feel about people who have different values, beliefs and practices from you?

1. You don’t have an opinion on the subject, you don’t really care.

2. You think you have the best way and no one will take those beliefs away from you, but you know how to be diplomatic and judgmental… Silently!

3. Not only do you accept these people, but you seek to understand how it can make them happier to better understand their story.

4. You love atypical personalities! You are not interested in the average person. The more unusual and offbeat the people you meet, the better!

  • Question 10: How much do you care about how others look at you?

1. You don’t care at all.

2. You like the look of others. For better or for worse, at least you are seen and talked about!

3. You want people to love you and be faithful to you.

4. You know that you are prone to be at the heart of discussions, you understand it and you are simply used to it!

Result:

  • You have a maximum of 1

You are part of the 14% of the population. You have an analytical mind and are extremely conscientious and organized. You feel the need to understand the why and the how.

Your main soft skill: your sense of efficiency, namely:

Being concrete;

Have a sense of reality;

Being pragmatic (as opposed to theorizing);

Demonstrate appropriate judgment adapted to the situation;

Be able to stay on course and not lose sight of the objectives to be achieved;

Be focused and stay concentrated;

Optimize your actions and thoughts (do not scatter in all directions);

Know how to manage stress and external pressures;

Be organized and know how to “prioritize” tasks.

  • You have a maximum of 2

You are part of the 18% of the population. You are a charismatic person who knows how to persuade. You know how to be direct and take action very quickly. You don’t procrastinate; the right time is always now.

Your main soft skill: your communication skills:

Good oral expression;

Know how to establish a good contact with your interlocutors;

Know how to write clear and structured communications;

Be discerning in your communication style;

Know how to adapt your speech according to the situation and the people;

Be willing to share information and to share it with others.

  • You have a maximum of 3

You are part of the 28% of the population. You define yourself as a warm character. You strive to reach out to others, and enjoy being appreciated by your superiors and colleagues. You are cheerful and passionate about your job, but also make a point of putting others at ease.

Your main soft skills: your sense of teamwork:

Have a team spirit;

Thinking not only of yourself but of the group in which you work;

Share your knowledge;

Be ready to help others;

To listen, to distance yourself from your personal interests, to show solidarity;

Be ethical.

  • You have a maximum of 4

You are in the top 40% of the population. You are fun, creative and playful. You are also very loyal and honest with those around you.

Your main soft skills: Your creativity and sense of initiative:

Be more than just a doer;

Do not simply wait for directives from the hierarchy and be proactive;

Knowing how to propose ideas at the right time and to the right person;

Knowing how to generate new impulses, new perspectives, original ideas;

Take time to think about new ways of doing things.

Developing hard and soft skills takes time, as with anything worthwhile. Some of them are acquired through work experience, and you may already be competent in some of them. You probably already had soft skills that were part of your personal background, but you were not aware of them. We hope that this article has helped you to see them more clearly.

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