5 'Soft Skills' to Look for In Prospective Packaging and Printing Employees
Employers seeking prospective employees with the most highly coveted combination of skills for printing and packaging that can bring the most value to the company should look for those that have a mix of soft skills and relevant hard skills. When it comes to soft skills — or those that are more personality driven — there are certain traits that employers should be keeping an eye out for when making hiring decisions.
In a workplace setting, soft skills are often defined as being personality-driven traits, often related to emotional intelligence, such as a person’s ability to recognize their emotions and others’ emotions to guide thinking and behavior. In contrast, a hard skill is one that is more measurable and can be learned in school, or training. For example, graphic design, computer programming, data analysis, and math are hard skills. A common notion is that it is the hard skills that will get a person an interview, but the soft skills that will get a person a job. While hard skills tend to be developed and practiced in schooling, soft skills are less taught and can be what sets professionals apart in the workplace.
Here are five soft skills that employers and hiring managers should seek in candidates not only in packaging and printing, but a majority of industries, that will help identify leading talent.
Being able to effectively communicate with others in different ways is essential. No matter what channel of communication; e-mail, phone calls, in-person meetings, presentations, social media and webinars, all require interpersonal skills to successfully convey messages to others. Exchanging information not only relies on the message itself, but also that the message is received the way it was intended. Therefore, another important part of communication is listening actively and attentively. The ability to interact with others in a professional and effective way is one of the first skills an employer should look at in most prospective employees.
The longer a professional is with a company, the more changes he or she will experience. Flexibility becomes very important for employees, especially as they age and are further removed from their education of newer technologies and company systems. Some may be resistant to changes made within the organization, however the ability to consistently learn new things, adapt to new technologies, and grow within their position is essential to thrive. Not only should professionals be flexible to new methods at work, but also flexible in job responsibilities and schedules by performing tasks outside of their comfort zones that don’t necessarily line up with their job title. Additionally, the willingness to move their schedule or manage scheduling conflicts is a great attribute for professionals in today’s fast-paced, constantly changing workplace environments.
While some jobs are primarily based on individual work and projects, most positions will require professionals to work as a team at some point. Getting along well with others, being able to lead, while also having the capability to be a follower are all parts of a team setting. These traits should be desirable to employers because they show cooperation, openness, and relationship skills necessary for cohesion in the workplace. Working effectively as a team includes successfully making a plan, achieving goals together and hitting deadlines, all while creating and maintaining relationships.
Problem Solving/Decision Making
Whether in the workplace, or outside of it, it is necessary to be able to react appropriately and find a solution when faced with a difficult situation. Often, professionals will be faced with resolving conflict or making big decisions that affect others at work. It is important to avoid being indecisive or making quick decisions before weighing out the consequences. These skills are acquired through experience, trial and error and should be highly sought after by hiring managers.
Often at work, there are multiple projects, tasks and meetings all happening at the same time. Being able to juggle all of these at once by managing time and prioritizing tasks, while hitting the necessary deadlines is an important soft skill to have. Organization of calendars and responsibilities is key to mastering time management.
While hard skills are obviously important, certain soft skills are the underlying talents that can be the basis of career growth and help employers build a well-rounded team. As employers work to hire top employees, having a team with high emotional intelligence and strong soft skills listed above can be a key differentiator in being the best team possible.
Related story: Recruiting and Retaining Workforce Talent in the Package Printing Industry
David Peterson is a Managing Partner for Direct Recruiters. He manages and oversees DRI search and recruitment teams in the Plastics and Flexible Packaging industries.
David is an accomplished recruiter and has built a reputation for understanding client needs from executive search to direct contributor roles. They appreciate his in-depth industry knowledge in the Plastics and Flexible Packaging space, comprehensive understanding of job market conditions and future industry trends. David and his team offer both retained and contingency search options and their search completion rates are consistently among the highest of the firm.
David is a current and active member of the Society of Plastic Engineers (SPE) and Plastics Industry Association, Cleveland Chapter of the Ohio Recruiters Association and served as their Chapter Chair for three years. In addition, he took part in a discussion panel at NPE and was a speaker at the Plastics News 2017 Executive Forum in Naples, Fla. David is an active Blogger on SPE's "The Chain" Career Center and has been published in industry-related publications such as Plastics News and Flexible Packaging Magazine.
David attended the University of South Florida and prior to joining DRI, he was an Account Executive with Management Recruiters, Inc.
David is married and has two daughters. He enjoys being with his family and competing in racquetball tournaments.