Take a hard look at your soft skills to ensure you get hired

Benedicta Banga
posted by Benedicta Banga
22 June 2015

It’s often not difficult to understand what technical skills are required for a buyer or procurement professional to perform their role.

Certainly when you are on the lookout for new opportunities it is as simple as looking at the job description and ticking what you are capable of doing against the stated requirements.

A rough scan that achieves a 60-70 per cent score on requirements means someone is confident enough to put their name forward as the candidate for the job. On the face of it this is great and a candidate might land an interview, be invited to a second interview, or even be offered the role.

Those that scored themselves as 75 per cent capable and didn’t get an interview or make the second interview are often perplexed by the decisions not to take them further in the process. In other cases, people can land the role but the reality of doing the job in that environment becomes a challenge that leaves them more focused on an escape plan.

In the scenarios above, soft skills can make all the difference to the outcome of various situations during your career.

The term has been banded about for a number of years but what are these soft skills? The definition I will use here is they are the intangible skills to be applied to a situation to demonstrate deliberate competence and differentiate oneself from the competition.

From the definition I would point out soft skills are scenario-related and there are levels to the same skill and this would determine their use and application. This calls for an individual to understand where they are within a specific soft skill level and whether that is enough to go to the next or perform at the current level.

It is not enough to have just technical skills, it is imperative to have the soft skills to underpin them. The point at which your technical skills intersect with your soft skills, you become deliberately competent to perform the task at hand.

Benedicta Banga is a procurement professional and the founder of career management agency Gradstrategy

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