The Importance of Soft Skills in the Workplace

Part 3 – Soft Skills As A New Hire

Hi Everyone!

Melissa Varischetti here, owner and founder at

Today’s blog post marks our 3rd entry in our series about soft skills in the workplace. In April we discussed a high-level overview of soft skills, and in May we talked about how to leverage soft skills in a job interview. Now for our June blog post we’re turning to another opportunity to utilize those soft skills – in your first few weeks on the job as a new hire. 

So, first things first, congratulations! You made it through the interview process and have successfully on-boarded as a new hire. 

After a tour of the office and a fresh-brewed (K) cup of joe, you settle into your first day in your new employers’ service. As the day goes on, you start to notice things about the office – who comes in a little behind schedule, who’s always making conversation at the water cooler, and what folks are talking about (both positively and negatively). 

As you work through your first project and training assignments, you find yourself asking your peers all kinds of questions – and not all strictly job-related. Your boss just sent a very brief email and you’re trying to figure out what it means, so you ask a co-worker who helps you “read between the lines” of that email so you know the best way to respond. A few months later at your year-end review, your boss puts down his laptop and asks you to share some successes you’ve had so far this year. 

The answers to these questions, and how to answer them successfully, depend on your mastery of soft skills. 

The answer to that boss’ email is going to look different depending on who writes back, and what defines success will absolutely not be carbon-copied across different employees. But when you utilize your soft skills, you will figure out how to rock these assignments and stand out in the workplace, even as a new hire. 

The first place to start is to figure out the WHY behind the question or problem. If your boss is being brief, perhaps it’s because they’re looking for you to organically ask for more detail rather than spoon-feeding you every piece of information. If you’ve been asked to elaborate on your success, chances are the person asking is eager to hear how you have leveraged your unique set of skills to overcome adversity and deliver for your team and the company. 

After you uncover the WHY, you will need to dive into the HOW and the WHAT. Many times these two soft skill-based answers will flow directly from the WHY. You know why someone is asking, now explain HOW you accomplished what they’re inquiring about, and also WHAT you did to be so successful. This method works equally well if you are being asked to solve a problem rather than describe how you solved one. Figure out WHY the problem exists and why you’re being asked to solve it, then strategize HOW you’ll solve it and WHAT you will do to solve it. And don’t worry if the problem seems too complex at first – after all, you can always reach out to the person who assigned you the task and ask for clarification. (And guess what – you can use your soft skills to figure out the best way to ask for that clarification!)

The last point I’d like to make regarding soft skills as a new hire is this – it will take time to learn the soft skills required in your new workplace. Don’t feel bad if you’re a few months or even years in and you still are learning new things. The important thing to do is keep applying what you’re learning and keep growing that set of soft skills in your new job. After all, you wouldn’t expect to learn the “hard skills” overnight, so why hold yourself to a different standard with the soft skills? Patience is key, and if you apply yourself and focus on learning the WHY, HOW, and WHAT, you will make it clear to everyone around you that you are focused on doing your job well and being a team player. 

And with that, I’ll be calling it a day for this month’s blog post. 

I would love to hear your experiences as a new hire and what that soft-skill-learning curve looked like for you. Did you find it easy to pick up what soft skills were necessary or was it super challenging and confusing? Let me know! You can email me at [email protected], or just leave a comment on this blog post or any of the social media channels you found this on. 

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Until next time,