Useful Tips

Flexible skills


HR has repeatedly faced the situation: they hire an excellent candidate, a professional in his field, who was successful in his previous job, performed KPI and has good recommendations from former managers. He goes to work in your company and does not give the expected result. What is the problem?

Diplomas, certificates and experience, of course, are important when deciding on a candidate, but the level of development of mental skills, which are more social than technical, are now moving into more popular characteristics of the workforce. In today's trends, the development level of Soft skills takes precedence over the narrow technical (technological) skills of Hard skills. Because To teach Hard skills is less expensive and faster than to instill and develop Soft skills.

Here, in the example above, these soft skills played a cruel joke.


Soft skills - skills, the manifestation of which is difficult to track, test and demonstrate. Soft skills include communication skills, teamwork, time management, management, presentations, sales, leadership, personal development, self-motivation, etc. These are skills that help people find optimal solutions in a wide range of tasks not described in step-by-step, nor in job descriptions. It is these skills that the employee applies in most of the working time.

Hard skills - technical skills or skills that can be clearly demonstrated. This category includes, for example, knowledge of technology, guests and standards, equipment repair, etc.


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It is believed that flexible skills should be in demand in the context of technological progress and a dynamically changing business environment at the beginning of the 21st century, in particular, participants in the World Economic Forum and the Gaidar Forum noted that the transformation of education in the context of the technological revolution leads to an increase in the need for flexible skills and the United States Business Education Association and the OECD define flexible skills as a critical factor in finding a job in today's labor market.

To create the majority of goods and services today requires the cooperation of professionals from different fields. Such cooperation is possible on the basis of developed soft skills.

Economist Andrei Belousov considers the development of flexible skills one of the trends that will determine the personnel policy of the country in the near future. Political strategist Pyotr Shchedrovitsky also noted the growing role of cross-cutting competencies - the ability to see the whole, identify patterns in complex objects, competently build communication and be included in teamwork.

For the development of flexible skills, there are various ways, among which specialists single out trainings, corporate training and education programs, mentoring and coaching.

What are soft skills?

These are character traits, personal qualities and other “non-technical” abilities that help you interact and communicate with other people. You may need to learn some soft skills and learn how to apply them, while others may manifest naturally in you. Listening, communicating and delegating are all examples of soft skills.

The opposite of soft skills are complex skills, that is, technical abilities. For example, the ability to write code in Python, schedule in Excel, or speak a foreign language. While sophisticated skills are easier to identify and measure. With soft make it harder. But this does not mean that they are less important - in fact, if you are a poor communicator, it will be difficult for you to even pass the first interview!

Employer Interests

Soft skills play an important role in hiring. Employers are not looking for robots that can work only with an accurate job description. They need people who can positively influence the company's activities and see what is happening around, people with depth (by the way, this requires three times more from managers). The soft skills of new employees is a way to solve this problem.

How to identify your soft skills

During the various stages of your education or career, you probably worked as a team. But do you work well in a team? Are you so good at teamwork that you agree to include this quality in the skills section of your resume? Can't say for sure? Let's talk about defining your soft skills.

Finding out which soft skills you excel at begins with a search in yourself. Nicole Wood, CEO of Ama La Vida, advised: “To gain soft skills, first recognize your strengths and opportunities for improvement. Then you can truly use your strengths and develop weaknesses.”

Empathy, strong involvement, gratitude, effective communication and stress management are all important skills that need to be developed in order to be promoted and become an effective leader.

View from the outside

Identifying your own soft skills does not have to be done alone. Ask friends, colleagues, and even former employers what soft skills come to mind when they think of you. You can ask them to give specific examples of when you made good use of some soft skill.

Learn something new about yourself. For example, if you thought you were disorganized, but everyone you talk to indicates your organizational skills as a quality, where you excel, then you can change your point of view and include them in your resume!

Below is a list of soft skills. Do you find any of them? Can you point out examples in your career when you used them to achieve something? So:

  • time management
  • teamwork,
  • communication
  • adaptability,
  • ability to do work under pressure,
  • innovation,
  • listening skills,
  • delegation,
  • creativity,
  • work ethic
  • leadership
  • solution of problems.

How to show soft skills in a resume

Now that you have a list of your soft skills, it's time to demonstrate them. “Soft skills are like dessert — quality is more important than quantity!” Writes Anish Majumdar, a professional resume compiler.

There are two requirements to quality: first, so that you really have soft skills. And secondly, so that they match what the employer is looking for.

When applying for a job, you can make a list of the soft skills described in the job posting. Or, if they are not, list those qualities that, in your opinion, may be useful in this work. You can then match this list with the soft skills you have. It is them that you present in your resume.

Many resume authors propose highlighting numerical values ​​that show how you excel at previous jobs. For example, “an increase in sales of 17%” or “doubling the average daily traffic to a site in three months.”

But it’s equally important to show how your soft skills led to success at work. “If you are not a robot, then you are not just furious and mechanically achieved results. And they began to apply their soft skills to achieve concrete results, ”says Jacques Barrett-Poindexter, a professional resume writer.

“Embedding soft skills in resumes” means that you described how you helped reconcile heated debate and how your ability to communicate all over the place, either orally or in writing, to influence solidarity and / or promote projects so that they reach their ultimate goals.

Want a bonus tip?

If you described soft skills in the Skills section, make sure they match (at least for the most part) with examples of how you used them in the Experience section. The listed skills will be marked by the candidate tracking system, and the examples you give will tell an unforgettable story to someone whose eyes will stop on your resume.

How to improve your soft skills

Take an online course. Today you can learn almost anything. From complex skills like Photoshop and network design to simple ones like project management and negotiation.

Get feedback from others. The best way to achieve the right skills is to learn about your strengths and weaknesses by asking for feedback. Observe and listen to those who have exemplary relationships with people. And then practice developing your skills in every way.

Hire a trainer. It will help you quickly and effectively develop certain soft skills, as it adapts the learning process and practice directly to you. Partnership with a trainer can have an invaluable impact on your success as a leader. Finding the right teacher for your time and budget is highly recommended. It's worth it.

Practice with a friend. Suppose you want to be more confident in your negotiations. Sit down with a friend and practice asking what you want - whether it's a pay raise, a promotion or a specific benefits package. Let your friend play the role of your boss, and then from this point of view give you feedback on your proposal.

Sociological research for decades has proved that not only professional skills are important for employers, but also additional knowledge and skills that cannot be obtained at the university: creativity, responsibility, courtesy and many others. They are called "soft skills" - soft skills. T&P with the help of experts explain what kind of skills they are, how they are acquired and how to understand which ones you need.

It is noteworthy that a universal definition of the term soft skills does not exist. According to the Oxford Dictionary, “soft skills” are personal qualities that allow you to effectively and harmoniously interact with other people. But even this capacious description is very vague.

When determining what soft skills are, it is worth starting from the context and scope of activity. For example, it is generally good when a specialist has project management skills, but they are not necessary for an engineer. The ability to conduct cultural events may be useful to a chemist, but it is much more important for HR specialists and. “Soft skills” are acquired skills that you have gained through further education and personal experience and are used for further development in your professional industry. That is why they are so appreciated when applying for a job.

Significant soft skills include communication skills, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, creativity, teamwork, negotiation skills, self-organization, time management, conflict resolution skills, respect for the culture of other nations, general knowledge, responsibility, etiquette and good manners, courtesy, self-esteem, sociability, honesty, sympathy, work ethic, project management, business management. And these are just some of them. Although it is easiest to divide “soft skills” into three groups: personal qualities, interpersonal skills and additional knowledge. The importance of each category also depends on the context and goals.

Tatyana Salakhieva-Talal

“There are two types of skills: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are all skills that are directly related to the craft and the activity that a person is engaged in. For example, if you are a programmer, then for you hard skills is all that is related to programming. For a screenwriter, hard skills are his scripting skills. For a person who works in a factory, hard skills are operational and technical activities.

Soft skills are not associated with the craft, but with the communications and skills necessary for successful work in their field, team, team, with other people. The widest block of soft skills is communication skills. The general communicative skills that everyone needs are the ability to conduct a conversation, argue their position, build counterargument, ask the right questions, give feedback and so on. But there are also more focused communication skills - for example, communication in sales, management, negotiation skills. There is also a large block of other soft skills of various kinds: skills in time management, personal finance management, working with information, goal setting, and so on.

“An investor is driven by two main feelings: fear (to lose one’s savings) and greed (desire to earn even more”)

If we are talking about the formation of skills, then we need to understand that there is a classical scheme of “knowledge - skill - skill”. Knowledge is all that everyone can learn from books, lectures, seminars, master classes. This is some information, a set of conceptual models and algorithms. Skill is a transitional moment when we try to apply the acquired knowledge in practice, and it turns out with different success. For example, a small child is explained how to tie shoelaces. If he is simply explained in words, this does not mean that he will cope with the practical task successfully. When the child is given the opportunity to try to tie the shoelaces himself, his skill is formed. Sometimes a child can do this, and sometimes not. One way or another, when tying shoelaces, the child consciously understands how this is done, and repeats the algorithm. Skill is embedding a skill in automated behavioral modules and patterns. An adult does not need to think about how shoelaces are tied each time, he does it automatically.

If we are talking about self-development, it is important to understand what kind of person needs soft skills in order to be successful in their profession. Everything is much simpler if a person works inside a company (especially in a medium or large corporation), because there exist competency models for each position and profession. Then a person of any specialty can see his competency model, and there will be five to seven blocks of skills that he needs to successfully develop in this profession. Then he can master and develop them - as part of corporate training and development programs or independently.

If we talk about development methods, then, of course, the best ways to do this are training. You can read many books, articles, listen to lectures, but in this way you will receive only knowledge. If you have enough stability and you are ready to apply this knowledge immediately, then your skill will be formed. And only after a while a skill will form. But this is a difficult way, and for these purposes there are individual coach sessions or special skill trainings that are built on the classical Kolba cycle.

I will explain. Children can be taught simply: you give knowledge, allow you to try, repeat, consolidate. In adults, everything is complicated by the fact that they already have their own automatisms developed for life. If you simply give knowledge and allow you to try, the new automatism will not be built in, it will cause resistance. Therefore, the Kolb cycle is a universal model by which an adult can be trained in skills. It consists in the fact that first the people in the group try and show the skill the way they know how. When it comes to negotiation training, participants play specially designed negotiation cases. This can be recorded on camera, in the end they gain experience in which they demonstrate what they already know. After this, the next stage begins - analysis and analysis of what happened. By recording, participants analyze the process that they have already automatically built, they find errors and try to fix them. They make recommendations on how to do this, the trainer gives an algorithm, how to do it right, and then all this is tried again, but using the new algorithm, and the basis is created for the formation of the skill.

It is important to remember that if over the next 72 hours after the training the updated algorithms do not begin to be integrated into the work activity, then the skill will not be built. In order for the skill to be embedded, it takes about 21 days of daily repetition in practice. The optimal format is the development of skills in special trainings with post-training support at individual coach sessions. ”

Alena Vladimirskaya

Head of PRUFFI Agency, Recruiting Specialist

“Soft skills do not apply to workers, but to life skills. There are several things that are always necessary: ​​the ability to listen, speak and negotiate. In Russia, there is no ability to negotiate at all, people here do not know how to do this, this is our main problem. Although many are convinced that the main problem for Russians is the inability to manage time. But this is not so. We just learned this. Compared, for example, with Italians, it’s very good with us. We are simply faster, and others are afraid of this. For us, the main problem is communication skills, the ability to hear, listen and negotiate. Это связано не с тем, что мы плохие, а с тем, что в России быстро развивалась экономика и в целом изменился бизнес. За двадцать лет мы прошли путь от экономики, при которой договариваться не надо, потому что она плановая, до современной экономики, где переговоры двигают бизнес. Но мы этому, разумеется, так и не научились.

Порой в soft skills выделяют такую историю, как креативность. In this sense, in Russia this is all very well. There is even such an anecdote: “If you want to come up with an idea, put on a Russian. If you want to develop a business, take a Russian, but put a Japanese. " We have no problems with creativity, but the ability to negotiate is deaf. The problem is that there is nowhere to learn. There are a huge number of different trainings where they supposedly teach this, but in reality we cannot learn this for one simple reason: the concepts of these trainers and teachers are not suitable for our new business.

“Many are convinced that the main problem for Russians is the inability to manage time. But this is not so. We just learned this. ”

When interviewing an HR director, it is very important to notice three things: consistency, time management, and the ability to negotiate. Was the candidate on time for an interview? How long did he complete the test? Did he send the test item on time? Did he send what you asked for? It often happens that you ask to analyze one thing, and the candidate analyzes what he wants.

The ability to negotiate is immediately evident at the interview. When a person comes for an interview, he actually needs to sell himself. If you go for interviews and there are no stressful situations - you are not humiliated or intimidated, then the offer must be received. It’s not necessary to accept it, but you need a positive outcome of your meetings, this reflects your ability to negotiate. ”

Artem Ginevsky

Director of Investment Technology Laboratory

“In general, the so-called soft skills have always been popular. But at a certain moment they got their name and definition, soft skills training became popular after the first works of Carnegie. We see a logical and logical process: along with the development of certain areas and professions, there is a demand for professionals with skills that correspond to these areas. So, the creative class professions that are popular today require imagination, non-standard thinking, the ability to work in time trouble with creative people. And for managerial professions, for example, you need the ability to work in a team, competently build communication with colleagues, and be a leader. Now it is these soft skills that are the most popular and in demand.

Demand for soft skills gives rise to an offer in the market of further education: various schools, courses, coaches and consultants appear. State educational institutions have much less flexibility than private small centers, so restructuring to the new needs of students is more difficult for universities. Students understand their gaps in education already at the place of work - to fill their specialists go to various organizations of additional education.

“The creative class professions that are popular today require imagination, innovative thinking, the ability to work in time trouble with creative people.”

In the financial sector, soft skills are also very important. I would single out the following: structured consciousness, analytical thinking, quick reaction, the ability to see the whole picture, self-organization. An investor is driven by two main feelings: fear (to lose one’s savings) and greed (desire to earn even more). The ability to control both of these feelings is also a kind of soft skill that a person needs to work in financial markets. We at the company talk about soft skills with our students as a “superstructure" after they understand and understand the theoretical part. In order to develop the necessary soft skills, we advise you to constantly learn new things, read professional literature and literature on personal growth. To learn various behavioral things should be in practice, adopting soft skills from professionals in your field. ”

1. Communication skills.

It is more than just speaking an understandable language. Communication skills include related constructive speech, clear thinking, active listening, presentation, and good business writing skills. One of the most popular communication skills is the ability to explain the narrow technical characteristics to partners, customers and employees who do not have technological knowledge.

How to determine the skill level:
1. Observation of behavior at the interview.
2. An open interview with selected candidates.
3. Cases for assessing interpersonal skills.
4. Tests-questionnaires for determining the type of personality.
5. Business games.

2. Computer and technical literacy.

Almost all jobs currently require advanced competencies in computer software, but many more applicants are not able to work with PCs and with specialized software.

How to determine the skill level:
1. Computer tests
2. Performing test tasks.

3. Interpersonal skills.

The ability to work in a team, communicate with people and manage conflicts is a valuable asset in the workplace. This skill is very important for your employees to grow and build a career, as the ability to manage employees (leadership) is becoming an even more important skill.

How to determine the skill level:
1. Interview on projective issues.
2. An open interview with selected candidates.

4. Adaptability.

Do not underestimate the ability to adapt to change and manage multiple tasks. In today's technological and rapidly developing business environment, the ability to pick up new technologies and adapt to changing business conditions is important.

How to determine the skill level:
1. Interview on projective issues.
2. A situational interview.

5. Research skills.

Using Google or Yandex, you can easily find answers to common questions. Nevertheless, companies are looking for employees who are able to evaluate and analyze situations, can look for many prospects and collect more unique information.

How to determine the skill level:
1. Situational interview
2. Case interview.

6. Project management skills.

Organization, planning and effective implementation of projects and tasks is a very effective skill. Now it is a separate category of professionals.
But at present, Russian companies are not yet hiring project managers because they expect all their employees to have this skill.

How to determine the skill level:
1. Tests-questionnaires.
2. Case interview.

7. Ability to solve problems.

The ability to use creativity, analysis of the situation, perspective vision of outcomes, past experience, information and available resources to solve problems attracts employers in that it saves money and resources in the organization.

How to determine the skill level:
1. Behavioral interviews on the STAR model.
2. A situational interview.
3. Case interview.

8. Examination and improvement of business processes.

The number one task that each company poses for employees is how to save money and resources. Optimization of business processes can save time and money for the company.

How to determine the skill level:

1. Interviews on competencies (behavioral interviews using the STAR model).
2. Business games.
3. Situational interview.

9. Strong work ethic.

Employers are looking for employees who are able to perform work professionally, responsible, reliable and can do the job for the first time. Managers and colleagues do not have time (and more often desire) for your training or correction of your work, therefore this skill is expected by default from all employees. Do not force the manager to explain the task for a long time or, to tell step by step the process of solving the problem, or even more so to finish or remodel your work.

How to determine the skill level:

1. Competency interviews (STAR-based behavioral interview)
2. Case interview.

10. Emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is a very popular skill that applies to your social skills, social awareness, and self-management abilities. Emotional intelligence is usually something that manifests itself in real interactions with colleagues, clients, with the leader, a sense of tact and timely reaction. The main thing here is that you control the emotions, and not them you.

How to determine the skill level:
1. The most common methodology for determining EQ is quiz tests.
2. Stress job interview.