According to AgCareers, companies look for soft skills when they interview prospective employees. Soft skills are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.
This surprises many people who think hard skills and technical expertise are more sought after than soft skills. Hard skills are teachable and measurable like math, a foreign language, or computer skills. Others think that a deep understanding of the seed industry or a specific product is essential. However, hiring managers reported that soft skills are most important, followed by hard skills, and lastly, technical expertise.
Why are soft skills so important? Company cultures are built around soft skills. They help teams work together and get the job done. Employers think it is easier to teach new employees technical information than it is to teach them how to communicate or work as a team.
Technology continuously changes the agricultural workplace. Over time soft skills will keep getting more important. Jobs most susceptible to automation do not require soft skills. Robots and sensors can handle many hard skills much better than humans, but soft skills by definition require a human touch. Therefore, companies hire people for these jobs because computers cannot do them.
Top soft skills for new hires: The same AgCareers study shows that teamwork, verbal communication, and decision-making or problem-solving are the skills that agriculture companies look for in new hires.
Diving in a little bit deeper, the top skills for a seed dealer are networking, problem-solving, managing conflict, and empathy when communicating with employees, coworkers, and customers. It’s hard to teach someone to be a good networker, especially if they do not want to learn, but to have a successful career as a seed dealer it is critical. So, companies hire individuals with strong networking skills and teach them the technical jargon and product-specific information needed to make a sale.
Next, we dive deeper into how employees or employers can apply this information. Choose either Employees or Employers to learn more:
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