Let’s stop talking about soft skills – They are power skills

Often derided as superfluous, these skills are rapidly gaining importance in the world of recruitment, explains Rebecca Roycroft

Often derided as superfluous, these skills are rapidly gaining importance in the world of recruitment, explains Rebecca Roycroft

7 Aug 2023, 5:00

Within the tech sector, job adverts tend to focus on the technical skills a candidate needs to possess to be successful in the role. While proficiency in certain software or the ability to code, for example, are enormously important for tech roles, they are not the only qualities an employee needs to thrive once they are in the job.

Those who have strong communication, organisational and interpersonal skills find they can adapt quickly to new roles and flourish in busy workplaces. For too long these qualities have been known as soft skills, but increasingly voices in the recruitment sphere are referring to them as power skills because of the impact they have on the workplace.

Power skills encompass areas such as leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, communication and productivity, and many will already be excelling in these areas without even knowing it. Being aware of one’s own strengths and weaknesses in the power skills department can help job hunters hone their search to find roles that suit their skillset.

By identifying where they thrive, candidates can also make sure they draw attention to their best power skills during the application and interview processes. Candidates can also proactively build up their skills in the areas they struggle with, and this personal growth could make securing jobs easier in the long run.

A recruitment superpower

When many candidates with the same technical skillset are applying for roles, power skills can act as key differentiators. Power skills are known to impress recruiters, so candidates must showcase these when trying to land a job. This is crucial throughout every stage of the recruitment process, from a candidate’s initial application to the first few weeks of a new role.

Clear communication skills can shine through in a written application, while strong problem-solving abilities and emotional intelligence can impress in an interview situation when presented with scenarios. Power skills like professionalism, honesty and passion for the role will put a candidate in good stead and can increase their chances of progressing to the next round of interviews and, hopefully, receiving a job offer.

When starting in a new role, candidates who understand the value of teamwork will learn the ropes quickly as they will be prepared to lean on other people for support, ask questions and muck in with projects when required. Equally, being confident enough to use their initiative when situations call for it will help the whole team to progress.

A helping hand for graduates

Power skills are especially important for Gen Z and Millennials as they are now embarking on the start of their tech careers and applying for entry-level roles. In a competitive job market where work experience, internships and extra training have never been more important, candidates will need to rely on their power skills to make an imprint on recruiters’ minds and stand out among a sea of other candidates.

If a candidate falls short on technical skills but ranks highly on power skills, an employer might consider them as a potential candidate if they are demonstrating the right attitude. Technical skills can be taught, and recruiters may see potential in a candidate who wants to learn and grow over one with all the right technical skills but little interest in the job they’re applying for.

Longevity in tech careers

Experience becomes hugely important when applying for senior job roles, but power skills are also likely to have been developed over their many years in the working world. Strong leaders, critical thinkers and good listeners all possess power skills in abundance. When combined with strong technical skills, these individuals make invaluable contributions to their workplaces and are likely to soar through the ranks.

Power skills are important in any job, but they have particular weight in the world of technology. The tech sector continuously evolves, and keeping up to date with the latest changes and technological advancements is crucial to staying ahead of the curve. Those who possess power skills like self-motivation, adaptability and a keen desire to learn will find it easier to grow and navigate their careers as they inevitably evolve over time.

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