The world has changed dramatically in the past year in a half, in ways none of us could have predicted. In Inc., Marcel Schwantes, Found and Chief Human Officer of Leadership from the Core, points to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, which laid out predictions about skills employees would need by the year 2020. Of course, as Schwantes notes, there are new skills that have emerged as critical in today’s landscape.
To that end, Schwantes reveals the most important soft skills employees need now and will continue to need in the future.
Challenges can and will present themselves in the workplace. “Sometimes the tendency is for employees to hide, withdraw, stonewall, or put on the mask to avoid tough situations or conflict,” Schwantes writes. “And that mask hides who they truly are in challenging, customer-facing situations requiring quick thinking.”
While it’s not necessarily ideal to constantly wear your heart on your sleeve at work — that could lead to people perceiving you as unprofessional — it’s still important to be open and authentic.
In an interview, a candidate can demonstrate their transparency by responding to questions thoughtfully and honestly, revealing how they’ve handled feedback in the past and exploring how they collaborate with others.
If anything, the pandemic has shown is that those who are resilient can persevere in the way of obstacles. In the workplace, this means have the flexibility to adapt when challenges present themselves and cope with uncertainty.
How can you demonstrate your resiliency in the hiring process? Discussing times you’ve overcome obstacles in the past (not just during the pandemic) is definitely a start. Consider how you would handle hypothetical scenarios, too, taking into account the skills you have to navigate the unexpected.
Managing your emotions is the hallmark of emotional intelligence, which Schwantes points to as a critical quality in professionals. This leads to less conflict and greater productivity. After all, nobody wants a workplace that is constantly filled with drama and escalating emotions.
It’s natural to be anxious during an interview, but be careful not to let your anxiety get the better of you. Give yourself a pep talk or perform rituals that help calm you down prior to an interview — breathing exercises or meditation, for example — in order to stay confident and collected. You can demonstrate your ability to manage your emotions in other ways, such as through anecdotes, too.
Empathy is one of the strongest qualities a person can have professionally and personally. Not only does it make you a more compassionate person — which will draw others to you — but it will also make you a better collaborator and develop stronger work relationships.
Ask informed questions to demonstrate engagement during your interview. Discuss times you’ve successfully worked with others or even helped them navigate a difficult time professionally. If you can provide clear evidence of a collaborative spirit, this will go a long way in showing how empathetic you are.
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket and The Haven.
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