job interview soft skills

In the accounting and finance fields, you know that having the right training, certifications and experience is vital. But did you also know that mastering the right soft skills can be just as important for your career? 

According to a CareerBuilder study, 63 percent of employers said one of the main things they want to find out about a candidate is what soft skills they have. While knowledge of regulatory standards and the ability to forecast budgets are important skills to have, many employers put equal importance on soft skills like communication or being a team player. 

Hard vs. Soft Skills 

Hard skills are those that are more likely to be listed on your resume, such as technical proficiencies, understanding of financial reporting or the ability to perform specific tasks. Obviously, these skills are important to potential employers and will be one of the first things they consider when deciding who to interview and hire. 

Soft skills are your more intangible skills, like flexibility, time management, self-confidence and patience. Not only do employers want to know you have the hard skills to perform the job, they want to know that you also possess the soft skills to handle the pressures and pace of the day-to-day. 

To truly be the best candidate when you apply for a job, you should have the following soft skills employers are looking for:

Emotional Intelligence 

Emotional intelligence refers to your ability to handle and interpret emotions. People with high emotional intelligence work better with teams, are more flexible, and can handle criticism more effectively than their peers. Those with high emotional intelligence are also more likely to succeed, thus are more attractive to potential employers.

A Desire to Continue Learning 

For those with this soft skill, learning never stops. They are constantly looking for training and education that will help them build their skills and make them better at their jobs. Considering their desire to continually improve their skill sets, it’s no wonder employers prefer someone with this soft skill over others who may not be as inclined to learn new things.

Communication Skills 

Communication is perhaps the most important soft skill you can have. But it’s more than the ability to speak well. You also should be able to express ideas clearly, persuade others, and write well. If you truly are a good communicator, this skill will be evident in your interview as you converse with the interviewer. Not only will employers look at you as a top tier candidate, but if you get hired, the best communicators are almost always the ones considered for promotions first. All great leaders are master communicators.

Adaptability

Most people don’t like change. It’s human nature to resist change once you get comfortable with how things are. But change is inevitable, especially at work. Employers want someone who can roll with the punches, someone who can easily adapt to change. When new processes are developed or new technologies are put in place, employers want someone whose productivity won’t suffer due to change adaptation. 

Time Management 

Employers don’t want to hire someone who is constantly late to meetings, or who is always missing deadlines. The best employees are those who can properly manage their time. And considering a majority of businesses have gone remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this soft skill is more important than ever. 

 

Though you may not be able to demonstrate these in-demand soft skills on your resume, you can show employers that you have these skills through your pre-interview communications and at the interview itself. Before your interview, prepare answers to commonly asked interview questions, dropping hints to your mastery of soft skills like time management and communication in your answers. 

 

If you are ready to find the next step in your accounting or finance career, contact Burchard & Associates. We connect professionals like you with career opportunities in St. Louis and beyond. Check out our available opportunities or contact us today to get started.