Last Updated 27 Jul 2020

Employers` Definition of Skill

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With the changing economic many employers pay more attention on the employee’s personalities and what soft skills they have, especially for the customer service occupations, which defined as “passionate, stylish, confident, tasty, clever, successful and well-travelled” (Warhurst and Nickson, 2001)By contrast the hard skills are more tangible and easy to quantify. for example: Examples of hard skills include job skills like typing, writing, math, reading and the ability to use software programs; (investopedia, 2011). In the following I will talk about the soft skills which applied and important in the service industry and also mention the soft skills needed in face to face and voice to voice situation, also describe how employers to choose the proper employees they need and the changing trends affects the whole society.

Soft skills benefits the service industry

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“The changing trend for companies to control their employees’ feeling and look as well as their behavior, give rise to work is under control the emotion to increase the production and efficiency. (Grugulis et al. 2004, Alan, 2008). Especially In the service industry the employers care more about the personalities which shows the employee’s soft skills for certain jobs, such as the waitress in the restaurant, the employees in McDonald’s, and the reception lady in the company, they all need to let the customer feel warm, friendly, happy and look good, sounds sweet and smile all the time without showing the nature emotions. (Nickson et al.2001).

For instance the service company like calling center, which is a centralize office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone in the voice to voice way. Their major job is to contact with the customer, and the mail order catalogue firms, computer hardware and software and etc, those are all the hard skills they need to contain, while now they improve the requirements for the calling center employees, the employers set a sort of the training and soft skills they need to gain. For instance: extraversion ,agreeableness, and openness to new workplace or different company culture, also they need to develop more skills to build the polite relationships with customer and has to be responsiveness to the customer ,most important of all is to be friendliness, compare to the basic voice to voice contact, it is not that easy to get the job for the calling person, the employers check the hard skills from the application forms and then give the telephone interviews ,also do the role plays to check whether they can act well through phone, and two person interviews given ,then if they pass all the test to check their personalities and soft skills they will finally get the job.

Employees have to look gorgeous and sound sweet, the employer will try to make sure they satisfy their requirements through recruitment and selection processes. (Nickson et al.2001). “But it is not only in this environment that grooming, dress sense, deportment, manner, tone and accent of voice and shape and size of body become vital. Workplaces as diverse as call centers, training consultants, investment banks and accountants all recruit, train and promote staff on their emotional and aesthetic ‘skills’ (McDowell, 1997; Trethewey, 1999; Thompson et al., 2001, Alan. 2008). Such as the sales in the shopping mall for famous brands, such as Dior, or Chanel brands, when the girls want to apply the job the employer will get the application forms first and then call them to come for the interview, because the sales is different from calling center, that is voice to voice customer contact, while this is face to face contact, so it will be more strict to request the employees. Employees prefer to hire the employees’ appearance,” language and, the dressing style and hairstyles and hair color, their weight and the size of their bust, hips and the way they make up, their taste of decoration. (Hochschild, 1983; Paules, 1991; Warhurst and Nickson, 2001; Nickson et al., 2001; Thompson et al., 2001.Alan, 2008).

Employers care more about the appearance of the employees because it is directly affects the customer‘s decision, for example, if the Dior sales has bad skin and wrinkles on the face, customer won’t believe if she give suggestion about the skin care products. And also the sales have to be more emotional control, they have to keep smile whenever the customer come. For a professional workers they have to enforce themselves control the real emotion, employees’ feelings and appearance are turned into commodities and re-shaped to fit their employers’ notions of what is desirable, employers wants them to work happily forget personal emotions and work more efficiency to increase the production. (Putnam and Mumby, 1993; Thompson and McHugh, 2002, Alan, 2008).Because no customer wants to spend money if the sales out of temper and patient.

The influence to the employer

In the past times the employer just see the application and to compare who is better or who is the best to decide who to get the job, while recently, application which shows the hard skills is just to help people to get the interview opportunity or phone interview, but the soft skills is the point to decide who gets the job. Employers prefer the candidate who had highly education experience and contains soft skills for example: communication, problem solving, self-motivation or willingness to get trained by the company.

While soft skills is differentiate from the hard skills, because it is hard to check whether a person has good soft skills, some organizations set a special psychological screening tests to check the candidates has good temper and personality. For example, in China, the employer will ask lots of sensitive questions and even pretend to be a customer to cause troubles to check whether they can sort it out nicely. Only they pass the test then they can get the job. If they get angry or loss control of temper then will fail to get the job. Perhaps the test is not accurate but it can do the prediction at least.

Because In emotional and aesthetic labor, employees’ feelings and appearance are turned into commodities and re-shaped to fit their employers’ notions of what is desirable (Putnam and Mumby, 1993; Thompson and McHugh, 2002, Alan, 2008).so the employers just reshape the employers when they fit in work, or even worse, some employers even want to put CCTV on to check the stuff works, get rid of being lazy employees. While this way is too dangerous, it will cause troubles. Even setting the culture and rules for the employees can increase tendency of acquiring soft skills, the employees get more pressure, if they obey the rules the company’s culture; they will increase the profits, productivity and efficiency of the work. So the manager and the employer just emphasize on the way to enforce employees under control.

The influence for society

The soft skills can benefits employees make them to work more efficiently and increase production and gain profits for the employers, then give rise to increase the living condition of the whole society and push the economic increase for the country eventually. while it may make negative influence to the employees if they want to immigrants to the other country which the company and society with different culture, and highly standard soft skills make them can’t find good work even with good hard skills which satisfy the company’s needs. For example, the government of Singapore they focus on inviting the highly hard skills people to work for the country but it is always hard for the immigrants who works excellent in their own country but can’t fit in the Singapore or even can’t find a job. Because they are lack of the soft skills, such as, lack of the culture of the organization and the country and even the language is the problems.


Gaining the soft skills increase the efficiency and production during the working time, even though it is intangible and harder to qualified than hard skills, need more practice and training to make it effectively, while in this economic knowledge society soft skills are what the employers desire. From the above mentioned how the soft skills differentiate from distinct occupations, and the employers can increase profits and production and make working more efficiency also increase the whole economic of the society ,in spite of casing the trouble of immigrants can’t fit into different culture in foreign countries. But we can’t live without soft skills in this society, then learn to increase the soft skills to gain the competence not just hard skills,then there is the solution for the employees and employers to find what they want from each other easily.


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Investopedia (2011) What Does Hard Skills Mean? URL:

Iappnet. (2010). Soft skills biggest challenge in hiring accounting professionals.URL:

Knowledgeable Workers: Interrogating the connections between knowledge, skills and services’ Journal of Management Studies 38 (7) pp. 923 – 942.

Hochschild, A.R. (1983) The Managed Heart, University of California Press: Berkeley.

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Paules, G.F. (1991) Dishing it Out: power and resistance among waitresses in a New Jersey restaurant, Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Thompson, P., Warhurst, C. and Callaghan, G. (2001) ‘Ignorant Theory and Knowledgeable Workers: Interrogating the connections between knowledge, skills and services’ Journal of Management Studies 38 (7) pp. 923 – 942.

Putnam, L. and Mumby, D.K. (1993) ‘Organisations, emotions and the myth of rationality’ in Fineman, S. (ed.) Emotion in Organisations London: Sage.

Thompson, P. and McHugh, D. (2002) Work Organisations: a critical introduction 3rd edition Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Slideshare.(2008). We Recruit Attitude – Call center development.URL:

We Recruit Attitude – Call center development (With video inside) from Albert Poghosyan

Thompson, P., Warhurst, C. and Callaghan, G. (2001) ‘Ignorant Theory and
Trethewey, A. (1999) ‘Disciplined bodies: women’s embodied identities at work’ Organization Studies 20 (3) pp. 423 – 450.

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