Having strong professional communication skills can catalyze (or stall out) your career success. Simply put, communication matters. Our experts have quite a bit to say about communication that showcases your soft skills and emotional intelligence, from your first interaction with a recruiter to daily conversations on the job.
Keep It Professional
First things first, no matter how casual your correspondence seems to be with a recruiter it’s important to keep your writing style professional from the very first interaction you have with them. Susan, Hiring Expert at Praxair, Inc. says, “Text and email grammar, punctuation (or lack of it) have one place - and that’s with your friend and family network. Never with your business colleagues, recruiting agencies, or other professionals.”Reference Link Kelly, Hiring Expert at Merck & Co. adds, “We are all guilty of improper grammar and punctuation from time to time. When communicating with recruiters or potential employers, it is important to maintain a level of professionalism. You want to be careful to communicate with proper capitalization and punctuation. You are being evaluated, even in the early stages of communications, and recruiters want to see that you are clear and concise.”Reference Link As Dustin, Hiring Expert at HP Inc., puts it, “Don’t give a potential employer an easy way to screen you out in the early rounds. Poor grammar and punctuation are sure-fire ways to prevent yourself from even getting an initial pre-screen phone call.”Reference Link
Once you’ve gone through the screening process and are sitting down for an interview, your communication skills will be assessed in a variety of ways. Rachel, Hiring Expert at Eaton explains how recruiters have shifted to gauge the soft skills of a candidate in their interview process. She explains, “Often employers are moving to, or have used, behavior-based interview models. In this interview format, they ask you to describe examples from your own personal or professional history that illustrate a response to their question. The premise is that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. They may also give you a hypothetical situation and have you walk them through how you would address it, judging your emotional intelligence based on your questions around the situation, responses, and ultimate solution.”Reference Link Traci, Hiring Expert at Accenture, explains that, “In addition to meeting candidates face to face, employers also build their interview processes specifically to measure things like communication skills and critical thinking...This is a way for employers to measure these skills during your interview as you temporarily step into the shoes of someone meant to solve and convey their solution to a client.”Reference Link
Communication Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All
Every workplace community is comprised of a unique set of individuals and has its own communication culture. As Max, Hiring Expert at ADP, suggests, “There is not one "holy grail" communication method. Companies thrive in diverse work environments, therefore you will have a diverse audience with a wide range of personalities, cultures, and work habits.”Reference Link
How can you seek to be an effective communicator in your specific workplace community? Some effective communication principles can be applied across the board. Ashley, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, breaks it down into three key considerations:
“1) Be thorough. When scheduling meetings or sending emails, provide the full context around your message. Try to anticipate questions you may receive so that follow-up questions won’t be necessary.
2) Be direct. Keep your messages as short as possible and to the point. Always assume that your colleagues and boss are extremely busy and ensure that you communicate your message as clearly as possible.
3) Ask for feedback. Don't be afraid to ask someone if there is a communication style they prefer. For example, some people would rather discuss things in person and you don't want to bombard them with emails if they don’t consider that effective communication.”Reference Link
As you seek to improve your communication skills it can be easy to focus solely on delivering information and forget that communication goes both ways. Bret, Hiring Expert at Emerson, shares from his experience saying, “The best communicators I have met in my career around the world are first and foremost amazing LISTENERS. Start by understanding that the best way to respond is to listen, take in, and process the communication of others.”Reference Link
By being intentional with your communication and valuing the responses of others you will highlight yourself as an invested and engaged member of your team or as an outstanding candidate for a potential position. Connection is crucial to growth in your career and working on your communication skills is an excellent place to start.