The answer depends on the position obviously, but apart from any Job Specific skills and basic literacy and numeracy there are other intangible soft skills that do make some candidates better prospective employees than others.
Many employers specify hard skills only in their job specification but when it comes to interview they will be taking them as a given, and looking to confirm the presence of soft skills that make an employment interaction work well.
And while you can’t necessarily learn a good attitude, you can pay attention to how your soft skills are perceived by the recruiter, and you can improve some of your soft skills.
These are the soft skills most employers would prefer their employees to have;-
- Common sense. The thing with common sense is it is not that common. It is necessary though, for the smooth running of a business, unless you want to supervise everyone all the time.
- Self-starter. You want to know that people are motivated to make things happen and won’t just sit waiting for the next instruction.
- Initiative. When they see a problem and a solution they will speak up.
- Strong work ethic. They don’t expect an easy ride, something for nothing, and are prepared to work for their rewards
- Honesty. They won’t cheat you
- Integrity. They have consistency of character and act according to exemplary values, beliefs and principles.
- Social intelligence. The skill of understanding and managing other people.
- Emotional intelligence. The skill of understanding and managing emotions.
- High energy and positive attitude. They will work hard and well.
- Team player and /or leader. That they can work with other people and lead if appropriate.
The reason they look for these skills is that people who have them are more likely to be the solution to a problem rather than take up management time and make life difficult for those around them.
Most experienced managers have had their share of problems with difficult employees. So employers are open to considering less qualified candidates with excellent personal skills.
You need to be aware of the importance of these critical soft skills and how you can use them to leverage your application .Work them into your cover letter and demonstrate them in job interviews. Ensure you have examples of them in your prepared answers for behaviour based interview questions.
“Tell me about a time when you have demonstrated Common sense “
“Tell me about a time when you have demonstrated you are a self-starter “
So your task is to persuade potential employers that you are a person with lots of common sense, are self-motivated, honest, hardworking, and a positive person who can demonstrate they are ready and willing to become a high performing employee.