Guest Post By Elisa-Edkins Proctor, Cowan’s Client Services Team Leader

The promise of lifetime employment at one company disappeared with push button phones and box TVs. In today’s job market a person has to consider honing soft skills to keep their job or to be considered for the most sought-after positions.

More and more employers recognize the need to look beyond hard skills and talent when looking to hire the right person for their vacant positions.  More attention is being given to soft skills, also referred to as competencies, once basic qualifications are met.

Before we go into some of the obvious must-have soft skills, let’s consider the ones the “topgrading” method for recruitment labels as Career De-railers when they go missing.

Career De-railers : When talent is not enough.

You could very well be the most talented person in your field of expertise, but if you demonstrate the following, few companies will see your value.

Not Resourceful

Too passive, doesn’t create opportunities, always trying to delegate upward

Pride and Fear

Mis-hires, has a team of B and C players because out of fear of hiring someone better than yourself.

Lacks Passion

Not highly motivated, lacks drive, goes through the motions.


Lies, can’t be trusted to keep promises, breaks confidences, gossips, and pushes legal boundaries too far.


Too ambitious, always trying to get the promotion rather than serve the company.

No Political  Ethic

A dirty player; backstabber.

Fear of Change

Hates change; resists progress; can’t adjust to the re-organization; job is too demanding.


Can’t empower anyone; control freak,;old-fashioned autocrat.


Builds silos; thinks your department is the only one; won’t coordinate across departments causing major production waste.


More excuses than solutions.

Slow Learning Curve

Can’t keep up; slow learner; falls behind the curve

Difficult Personality

Arrogant, condescending, egotistical, doesn’t treat people with respect.

Soft Skills That Win The Job

If you want the job, start demonstrating soft skill every company looks for. The following might seem obvious, but consider that a good interviewer will ask you to give examples of how you embrace each of the following, and will be acutely aware of conflicting answers, examples, and summaries on your CV. Tip: Honesty is the best policy.

Team Player

You are not just a team player but can also step up as needed and display key leadership skills when necessary. If you are in an interview then make sure you have examples of this skill to demonstrate not only how well you work within a whole group but have taken a lead on projects that you were passionate about.


You demonstrate active listening skills; you don’t spend your time thinking of your response whilst the person is still talking to you. Pay attention, show you are listening and then provide feedback! Research suggests that we remember between 25 percent and 50 percent of what we hear. That means that when you talk to your boss, colleagues, customers or spouse for 10 minutes, they pay attention to less than half of the conversation!


Many workplaces are rapidly changing environments; a great asset is being able to step out of your comfort zone and try your hand at something you have not done before! Employers love people who possess a positive attitude, upbeat and have the willingness to try something new. And remember, when you are in an interview situation don’t forget to give examples – think back to a time when you showed flexibility.


Do you have the ability to prioritize and run multiple projects? Demonstrate you ability to plan and execute in a balanced way so no tasks are neglected. Identify your objectives and how they align with company objectives.  Stay focused on your deliverables and own your work! .

A good recruitment company like Cowan International will take time to make sure that you are prepped and ready for your interview but you must also sure that you have taken the time to do your homework and sell yourself!

Leave your comments and questions in the comment section below. We love to hear from the Cowan community!

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