Friday, December 09, 2005

Reader Feedback re: "When the Employee is Able but Not Willing " Astronology Article

This past Tuesday's Astronology Article, "When the Employee is Able but Not Willing" stirred up some debate among readers. Richard L. Virgilio, SPHR, of First Principles Coaching & Intrepid HR Consulting, Batavia, IL, shared his views on the subject...

I disagree strongly with your (and with most of the field's) characterization of personal interaction ability as something called "soft skills." They are not only not "soft," but--as you point out in the article--perhaps even MORE important than the so-called "hard" skills which are most used for hiring and evaluation purposes. We, as HR professionals, need to get away from calling them "soft" as though they are squishy, malleable, or of less importance. There are practical skills, hand-eye coordination skills, creative skills, communication skills, team-building skills, machine operating skills, critical-thinking skills,......which are "hard" and which are "soft"? Which are important, which vital, and which not-so? Which can be massaged to make room for others? At what cost to the company? Skills are skills, and characterizing them as "soft" or "hard" does no one any favor. In addition, the term "personality" is a very specific, technical term in the behavioral and clinical medical sciences. Unless the interviewer or hiring manager is a clinician in some aspect of psychology, he or she is simply not qualified to make a decision based on personality.

As always, we welcome viewer feedback. Feel free to send in your comments!

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