Published Date: 09/08/2014
By Reneé Watkins
Two recent surveys have reported employers put a premium value on communication skills when recruiting new candidates. Employers also report communication to be an area needing the most improvement among today’s applicants.
The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) surveyed 565 global employers about the traits they find attractive in job applicants. Communication skills were ranked ahead of teamwork, technical knowledge and leadership by corporate recruiters.
Leger Marketing surveyed 845 business executives who identified effective communication skills and leadership ability as the two most important traits and the two in need of improvement across the candidate pool.
Communication skills are valued more highly than ever before due to changes in the corporate hierarchy and the diversity of today’s workforce. Today’s corporate org chart is flatter in that there are far more “peers” to be communicated with and kept in the loop as more projects touch nearly every area of an organization. Also, as our workforce becomes more culturally diverse, clear language to convey ideas with accuracy and clarity is important.
The onslaught of non-verbal communications including email, text and social media has eliminated much of the need for any form of verbal, face-to-face interaction. Therefore, verbal communication skills suffer due to lack of practice. Today’s graduates have become fluent in the language of Google and have come to believe they can get everything they need from the web. Relationships are built on personal contact and require more than emails or texts. Clients will buy from people with whom they have a relationship. Co-workers are better team players if they have a relationship with their peers.
Employers are seeking candidates who have strong verbal and written communication skills, which can be used to bond with peers, secure customer loyalty and update upper management on the status of the business. As these skills are a critical part of today’s organizational culture, applicants should practice their verbal communication skills in preparation for a successful interview.