With the job market continuing to emphasize skills and credentials, don’t get caught letting your personal brand and the overall quality of your candidacy suffer from poor intangibles.
Today’s technical role descriptions are packed with buzzwords and skills, placing significant time commitments on technologists to acquire and maintain those capabilities. In some sectors like computer engineering, software engineering and development, the number of tools, languages, operating systems, frameworks and methods like AGILE a candidate is expected to have mastered can be quite daunting.
The writer, a 25 year Technical Recruiter with practice area responsibilities as an IT Recruiter and an Engineering Recruiter, is often amazed by the knowledge and experience expected of winning candidates today. And yet, possession of great technical skill sets alone is still not enough!
It’s the candidates who possess the right skills and experience along with great intangibles that get selected!
Being able to check every skills box in a job description is a great start, but one can still fall short, even losing out to a less qualified person with better personal presentation, communication and etiquette.
Personal intangibles are so important that, in the writer’s opinion, a skill set heavy role description is best considered as a list of qualifying skills to which the winning candidate can expect to add a solid list of interpersonal skills.
This list includes personal presentation, smile, affability-likeability and communications skills both verbal and written.
Written communication today is of course mostly electronic. Formal written communication in the hiring process for anything other than presentation of an offer letter seems to have gone the way of the dodo bird. To some extent, this ‘loosening of the collar’ is fine and perhaps even desirable for the purpose of speed and efficiency. However, that doesn’t mean formality should be completely abandoned in favor of the latest fad in text/email communication.
Mistakes in this area are very common. Communication with hiring authorities by candidates that don’t include opening or closing salutations, utilize acronyms (please don’t LOL!) and have spelling and grammatical errors is epidemic.
Speed of communication is important, but can be harmful if it is too loose or informal when some degree of decorum is called for…which is almost always the case while in the hiring process, even during the post offer/acceptance onboarding phase.
In short, dress for success, present yourself confidently, speak clearly and write with purpose and at least some modicum of formality. Whether texting or emailing from laptop or phone, address the recipient(s) by name. Sign off the communication with an appropriate salutation which should include your name and do get in the habit of spell checking all your communications.
The little things make a difference…sometimes between landing that great job and wondering what just happened!