Wie klein die Kaffeetassen für den bosnischen Mokka sind und wie stark sie doch aufs Gemüt wirken, widerspiegelt eigentlich nur, wie wenig wach man am Morgen ist und wie viel man doch zu sagen hat. Das alles während so einer winzigen Tasse heiß gebührten und weder mit Zucker noch mit Milch versetztem Kaffee. Ich schaue mein Gegenüber an und höre interessiert den Geschichten zu. Eine Aneinanderreihung von Anekdoten, keine länger als drei Minuten. Sie schlürft den Kaffee und schenkt sich, beinahe gleichzeitig, jedes Mal beim ablegen der Tasse ein wenig mehr nach. Ich frage mich, ob sie vor hat die Nacht durch zu machen, denn so sehr ich Kaffee auch liebe - ja ich liebe ihn wirklich, so sehr wundert es mich, dass meine Tante nicht schon am durchdrehen ist. Im Kopf entsteht ein Kopfkino wie es im Buche steht. Es ist schon fast Musicalreif! Während ich mir gerade ausmale wie sie auf der Bühne ihren Körper schwingt und tanzt und eine kleine Kaffee-Technoparty schmeißt, vergesse ich, worüber wir eigentlich gerade sprechen....
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What are soft skills? Why does everyone talk about soft skills? Why can you google the most important soft skills or the most popular ones? And most relevant, what is the importance of soft skills and how do they affect ones employability?
With this article, we want to focus on the topic of soft skills, with reference to the IT sector.
As defined by the Gabler dictionary of economics, soft skills are the complement to the so-called hard skills, such as technical and methodological competence. The objective is to increase motivation and the propensity to cooperate in and around a company or organization. Even more, soft skills are defined as personal values, characteristics and competencies. According to the research article by Matt Stevens and dr Richard Norman from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, ‘IT industry representatives are less concerned about technical skills than soft skills needed for team based, customer focused, business environments. Industry tends to seek base-level technical skills and make recruitment decisions on more personal qualities, leaving detailed training to on-the-job.’ IT industry was considered as a not-that-social industry for the longest time. (That could have something to do with the representation of programmers in film industry.) By reflecting on this and also following logic and human reason, we can assume that this is far from the truth, yet it clearly shows the importance of soft skills across industries.
Most people now ask themselves what exactly is required and to what degree is it something personal or something socially expected that we recognise in ourselves in terms of soft skills? According to psychological backgrounds, but also through experience in certain professional fields in which people have to deal with such perceptions in their day-to-day business, so-called skills are often listed, that are assumed to be gladly heard or particularly recognised.
But have you ever taken the time to think about these statements? When preparing for interviews, or when generally analysing which soft skills you need to train in order to enable yourself to follow the business paths you want to follow in the future, what were the first thoughts?
The first step should be self-reflection. It is important to identify the things we are good at, and the things we need to work on. After realizing what soft skill, or group of them is the most important to us at that moment, we can begin working on improving it. This means, the best way to start working on your soft skills is not to look for general answers on the internet, but to look for your own strengths and weaknesses before. As soon as I reflect on what really matters to me and learn to use my manner in such a way that I appear authentic, I can classify how I can best help myself to develop further.
Secondly, it is important to realize, that improving a soft skill is not as easy as it sounds, soft skills are some of the hardest skillswe’ll ever learn!( Peggy Klaus - „The Hard Truth About Soft Skills”) We can’t sit down for a few hours/days/weeks working on one skill, and expect to improve it. Soft skills take time, practice and lifelong training. But the results are undeniably rewarding.
What should also not go unmentioned is the fact of being inspired. You can find so many inspiring stories about personal growth (which include soft skills) and tips and strategies on how to start working on improving them. As the saying goes, “One day or Day one. You choose.”
A significant difference between hard and soft skills is, that soft skills are useful not only in professional, but also in personal settings. Humans are social beings that rely heavily on relationships with others, and soft skills directly affect ones ability to start and maintain good relationships.
In summary, this short article has given an insight into the importance of soft skills and aspects to consider when working on them. It should be critically noted that one's personality should be considered as the beginning, the way and the end of this learning experience. The continuity of working and improving could be one of the most important sticking points why people think they can't do it, because many don't take enough time with it. But also the beginning and the question, how do I start, are crucial for success. So, all that is left is to actually start. Step-by-step and we’ll make it.
From an HR perspective, there are a few questions you can ask yourself if you want to work on your soft skills:
Am I an introvert or an extrovert?
In which way do I solve things?
Introverts: Can I find a way to deal with things in my way, that others claim are only attributable to extroverts?
Extroverts: As a particularly open person, can I nevertheless note as a personal plus that I can relate well to rather shy people?
How comfortable am I in new environments?
Do I like to speak in front of strangers?
What values are important to me? What company values are important to me?
How do I deal with conflicts?
How far does my comfort zone go?
Article written by: Nudzejma Zukorlic & Ida Manko
“I believe that in about fifty years’ time it will be possible to programme computers, with a storage capacity of about 10₉, to make them play the imitation game so well that an average interrogator will not have more than 70 percent chance of making the right identification after 5 minutes of questioning” -Alan Turing (1950)
This blog post aims to give a first feel for artificial intelligence in recruitment. An introduction to the partly still abstract topic, which seems to be more and more important. Alan Turing posed the question whether a computer can think like a human being by means of a game. His imitation game, which replaced the target question in the course of the test with different variations of questions, helped to establish important origins of the current performance of machines. His test was to investigate machine intelligence. It involved a teletyped dialogue between a human player, a machine and an interrogator. At his time, the first insights had to be drawn and according to literature references, the goal of the machine was to simulate a man imitating a woman. But actually the interrogator should determine which of the two contestants was the woman and which was the man. The interrogator was unaware of the real purpose of the test. Other scientists and interested parties are also dealing with artificial intelligence and the development possibilities in digitalisation. Kurzweil, head of technical development at Google, described the inclusion of artificial intelligence as follows: "The art of creating machines that performs functions that require intelligence when performed by people".
In today's everyday life, artificial intelligence has become a component that we hardly ever question or consciously keep in mind. Voice-controlled assistants, smartphone keyboards, navigation systems are just a few examples. To simplify what artificial intelligence means, it is best to say that a computer is supposed to solve problems that actually require the intelligence of a human being. A distinction is made between strong and weak AI. However, strong AI means mechanising the entire human thinking process, whereas weak AI is intended to solve concrete application problems and thus supports the human thinking process. This will not be discussed further in the following. Why is all this now relevant for companies? Why in the hiring process? Due to the industrial change towards Industry 4.0 and the developing demands of efficiency and effectiveness, together with the increasingly specific skills-oriented required profiles that companies are looking for, a significant increase in performance can be achieved with the help of machine systems. While many recruiters are initially apprehensive about this development, others, such as consultant Jonathan Kestenbaum (co-founder of Talent Tech Labs, a talent acquisition consultancy in New York), say that the implementation of AI software can significantly help solve problems, especially in everyday tasks and necessary data analysis. Artificial intelligence is primarily intended to create a cost and time advantage in the process led by recruiters and HR managers. The most common problem behind this is that most people are not aware of the individual functions of AI in the process, but are guided by the image that the entire job is to be replaced by machines. So what are the most commonfunctions of AI in recruitment?
Screening of candidates and initial assistance on applicant pages through so-called chat boxes e.g.
Automated application processes and initial email responses to candidates to shorten feedback and communication.
Formal procedures that need to happen between hiring and onboarding can be taken over in the documentation by AI and thus offer the security for recruiters and candidates to continue the communication in the grey area. Scheduling: conversations, appointments, phone calls
In this sense, many positive aspects can be attributed to the whole construct, but what are the points that primarily trigger discussions?
The most common points of discussion are those that machines would lack the empathy of a human being and that many perhaps good profiles would thus not have a fair chance in the process due to unusual turns in their CVs. The question of ethical regulations and impartiality in the process is also divided in two directions. While some assume that AI will strengthen a fair process, others assume the opposite. Some aspects can be named and rephrased in both directions:
Hiring of candidates takes place with machines and no involvement of human. So, it leads to unbiased screening and candidate selection.
Hiring of candidates takes place with machines and no involvement of human. So, it leads to biased screening and candidate selection based on the learning process of the machine which is oriented towards specific conditions.
Which aspects exactly should be included in this discussion and how the individual opinions can be discussed further will be clarified in more detail in a second blog entry if there is interest in the topic. More concrete aspects of the recruitment process itself can also be included. The connection between the change of generations and digitalisation also plays a major role here. The introduction given here is only intended to open up the basic interest and importance of the topic and to emphasise its everyday use without forming an opinion.