Skills With a Smile

Posted on November 2014 By Speller International
Service With A Smile

​It’s a bit of an open secret in the recruitment industry – companies hire you for your ‘hard’ (technical) skills and keep you for your ‘soft’ (people) skills. With Christmas on the way a lot of people start entering the festive mood, there is of course the seasonal appearance of the ‘office grinch’, but the research shows that it pays to be nice all year round, not just at Christmas and here is why. 

In recent years, many industries have seen technical positions outsourced offshore. Prior to this change, technical ‘whizz kids’ could get by just on their amazing skills but these days companies are increasingly searching for candidates who fit with the culture and ethos of their firm.

Even when it comes to contract staff, it is important that hiring managers are sure all members of the team will gel and work well together. Working in SAP can be as high-pressure as it is rewarding, it is in those times when things are not all laughter and smiles that having upbeat, personable people around you makes all the difference.

That’s why it is so important to be one of those upbeat, personable people. It is grace under pressure that colleagues, managers and future referees will remember. Speaking of referees, SAP in Australia is a relatively niche community. When companies are hiring, senior management will often know someone that you have worked alongside and ask them for an informal reference. It is therefore crucial that you leave a good impression with as many people as you can – as you never know who could be your next ‘informal referee’.

Time and time again we see that it is not necessarily the most highly skilled contractors getting repeat work – many times, the most successful contractors are also the friendliest. This doesn’t mean you can be terrible at your job as long as you are a nice person, but those contractors we find easiest to place and our clients want back over and over again are usually the ones who are good at what they do as well as being personable and kind. They make an effort to not just join the team but to add to it on a personal level. They stop for a chat and go for lunch and coffees with their colleagues. They are a pleasure to have around, which is why managers want to keep them around.

Conversely, there have been occasions when consultants who are very strong technically cannot get roles. In many cases, this is due to their reputation preceding them. They may be difficult, inflexible or rude to people or worse – no one remembers them! If people do not remember you, even if you solved a difficult problem or developed a great solution, it makes no difference. 

The way to ensure you are always remembered both for who you are and what you do is to make a genuine connection with teammates and managers. People remember how you made them feel. People remember the colleague who shared the kudos on a great success, who took them for a morning coffee or who were ready to listen when they had a problem.

It is easy to ignore this part of work because you are busy but, with such a small and well-connected industry, the little things really do mean the most – so make sure to head along to those team lunches and wish people a happy birthday. You never know who will be on your next interview panel, after all! 

The festive season is a great time to start being generous in spirit. Bring in a few treats for your team (a great trick for the less extroverted among us) and don’t forget to smile and say ‘hi’ to colleagues as well as visitors. If you’ve let this element of your work slide until now, consider this article the ‘ghost of Christmas past’, and make plans to start the New Year as a new, more personable you. You might find you’ll get more enjoyment out of your work – and we can guarantee you’ll get a better reference!