There’s a lot of buzz these days around the importance of interpersonal skills. Well, these were essential back in the day too; however, with soft skills now being viewed as vital as hard skills, the demand for strong interpersonal skills has risen like never before.
So, what exactly are interpersonal skills and how highlighting them on your resume could ‘seal the deal’ in your next interview?
Here’s all that you need to know.
In a nutshell, interpersonal skills can be defined as those individual qualities or traits you use to effectively communicate with others. Whether in a job scenario or the larger world, people prefer to stay connected/ work with/ be associated with people who display a positive attitude, are empathetic and responsible, and collaborate well. Nobody likes people who are overly temperamental, let alone people with negative attitudes. So this, in itself, explains the value of interpersonal skills.
Some of the key aspects of interpersonal skills can be comprehended through the below list:
Did you know? As per a recent survey, about 81% recruiters consider interpersonal skills as important. [Source: Graduate Management Admission Council]
Call it interpersonal skills, soft skills, people skills, or whatever you may, the fact remains that no matter how experienced you are or how sound your hard skills (technical interview skills) are, without the right attitude and decent interpersonal communication skills, you risk losing out on opportunities to others.
Imagine an interview scenario where each of the five candidates possesses the required technical qualification and work experience. How can the organization pick one over the others? You got that right; interpersonal skills can, more often than not, be that deciding factor and help the interviewer to view one as a better fit over others.
With the appropriate display of interpersonal communication skills alongside your technical know-how, you can completely impress an interviewer.
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Interpersonal skills are essential not just because they can help you crack the next interview but also because they can make you a successful professional, and help you forge meaningful relationships – both with your superiors as well as your subordinates at work. Everyone likes ‘a people’s person’; by being approachable, empathetic, and accountable, you can go a long way and add positivity around you.
The below example can help you comprehend the importance of good interpersonal skills.
Mr. A works as a team lead in an IT company and has around 12 members reporting directly to him. He is responsible for curating project requirements, creating the workflow, explaining tasks to his team, and also managing the delivery. Mr. A lacks ‘good communication skills’. His non-verbal skills aren’t too impressive either. In addition, he is seldom open to giving feedback; rather, loses his cool at the slightest instance of an error occurrence.
His team is mostly clueless about the larger picture of the project, which is why their contribution doesn’t match their true potential. Also, because he is not empathetic, his team members rarely walk up to him for guidance. As a result, the project suffers, there’s no bonding between the members (and him), the client is dissatisfied, and Mr. A struggles to retain his position.
Did you see how it all began? Obviously, with poor interpersonal skills.
As is pretty clear from the above, communication skills – verbal and non-verbal – help you succeed in your career, right from the time you start. Here’re a few ways you can exhibit your skills to your interviewer/ hiring manager at the interview. This is your quick interview prep guide!
So, right from giving an edge to your CV to helping you crack the interview, there’s a lot that soft skills offer. Don’t underestimate its potential.
Mention instances where you:
Improving Interpersonal Skills
Soft skills are qualities that one is born with – either you have these traits or you don’t. Nevertheless, you can improve your interpersonal effectiveness even if you lack it at the moment. Since you are looking for information to perfect your skills, chances are you’re already aware of the areas you need to focus on.
Here are a few ways in which you can brush up your skills.
You don’t need to be the most positive person in the room; however, by attempting to build rapport with your team members, you can surely set the tone. Offer help whenever required, and if someone seeks your guidance, be glad to offer it. Even the smallest steps you take will take you ahead.
If you lack empathy, try practicing it for some time. Yes, you can do it. Imagine yourself in the shoes of the person who you don’t feel empathetic towards. Try to understand the situation or consider the suggestions he/she is offering. Even if this appears tough, keep practicing. With time, you will start to naturally feel for others.
You can only begin to improve when you start doing things in a genuine way. You don’t need to be harsh on yourself; acknowledge the misses and take one step at a time. Just remember to take honest steps only.
Getting agitated easily, feeling impatient and maintaining negative demeanor has never helped anyone. You need to calm yourself down and observe patience. A composed person is better capable of making decisions. It's commonplace for opinions to differ; however, this shouldn't affect relationships. You need to ensure you follow this at all times.
One of the improvement areas you can focus on is to start respecting others’ opinions, feelings, differences, and suggestions. Identify one professional trait in your co-workers, which is good, and respect him/her for that. Very soon you’ll be surprised to find many other qualities that are worth appreciation.
Much of this will stem from self motivation. Soft skills can be improved, but only when the urge comes from within.
Check out these Top Work Ethic Values to Develop in order to have a successful professional career
So, how would you rate your soft skills? Are you prepared to revisit your resume and include a section on interpersonal skills?
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