Soft skills

What Canadian employers are most looking for in candidates

Peter Harris|

Here’s some good news for Canadian candidates. Despite the relatively gloomy economic stories we often hear in the news lately, the vast majority of Canadian companies are planning to maintain or grow their staff in 2013.

We recently conducted a survey of senior executives from across all regions and industries in the country. Only 2% are planning cuts for next year, while two thirds intend to hold the size of their workforce steady, and one third (32%) are planning increased hiring. So that should translate in to more job security for workers and more opportunities on the horizon.

You might think that the number of Canadians looking for work right now would make it fairly easy for companies to find the candidates they need, but that’s not what they’re telling us. Employers say that it is getting harder to find the talent they’re looking for.

And here’s the interesting part. Top level business leaders say that where candidates often don’t measure up is in their level of soft skills. Two-thirds (67%) of executives told us that rather than job-specific qualifications, it was the basic business and people skills they were having trouble finding.

The most in demand soft skills:

  • A positive attitude
  • Communication skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Customer service skills
  • Teamwork

 

For their part, the candidates we polled thought that unemployment was largely caused by employers ‘unrealistic credential demands,’ and only 37% saw their soft skills as being valued on the market.

The fact that employers think that most candidates are lacking in soft skills (and most candidates don’t think they’re important) gives you the opportunity to stand out from the crowd and really impress them by proving that you have them in spades.

If you’re looking for work, it’s time to make a hard sell of your soft skills. Make sure that your resume is well-written and error free. Highlight the times you’ve had to go the extra mile in order to accomplish goals. Focus on your collaboration with successful teams. Use the job interview to demonstrate your positive attitude, enthusiasm and work ethic.

You can read the full research report and check out our infographic summary and video here: http://workopolis.com/research.

 

- Peter Harris

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