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When joining a new team, is it better to have the right soft skills and have to learn the hard skills of the job? Or vice versa?

5 Answers
Erika Barbosa
Erika Barbosa
Counterpart Marketing LeadJanuary 26

The obvious answer is both. : ) However, if I had to select one option I would say it is better to have the right soft skills. Hard skills within demand generation are very teachable. In fact, “being teachable” is a critical soft skill to have. Oftentimes you’ll find educating yourself on demand generation hard skills is an ongoing process over the course of your career. While soft skills are too, having these skills come more naturally would be beneficial.

For example, you can teach someone how to have excellent communication skills, but when this comes to you naturally, it helps in so many facets. This does not mean that soft and hard skills aren’t teachable as I previously noted. I recommend that you focus on having a solid understanding of your strengths and areas of opportunities and identify actions you can take to grow your skills across both.

909 Views
Adam Kaiser
Adam Kaiser
6sense VP, Growth MarketingMarch 29

This depends on your experience level. If you are new to your field, joining with the right mindset and attitude can take a long way. If you engage with your teammates with a desire to learn and display a positive attitude, you can advance quickly in your career. In many junior roles, hiring managers are looking at culture fit and attitude more than anything else.

581 Views
Katie Jane Parkes
Katie Jane Parkes
Nexus Communications VP of CreativeApril 28

I think having the right soft skills is better when you're joining a new team. A lot of the time, the soft skills are very hard to teach others. They are developed over a long period of time and are a culmination of that person's years of experience on the planet: their upbringing, career path, interests, likes and dislikes, all shape how soft skills show up and they are often what make most people very unique and allow them to stand out in a field like demand generation.

The hard skills can typically be taught, especially if there is room for learning at the company or opportunities for professional development. I have often noticed myself that I learn hard skills just by being thrust into it and doing something over and over again. And if there are other members on the team who are great at the hard skills, even better, because now you can learn from them and build trust fast by developing these new skills for the team, together.

428 Views
Laura Lewis
Laura Lewis
Addigy Director | Head of MarketingJanuary 19

When starting an entry-level role, no one will expect you to have the hard skills figured out. They'll train you on those. What they will be looking for is the soft skills: can you communicate well, are you organized, hard working, a good writer, or whatever else is important for that specific role.

For a mid-level role, say a Digital Marketing Specialist, the skill set flips. You will be required to be an expert in that discipline, advise and train others on that discipline, and be able to figure out how to tackle a project in the best way possible. Additional training is always needed to stay on top of the latest developments in any field, and companies will always be looking for someone who fits their culture well and will get along with the existing team in place, but this has now become a secondary requirement after the hard skills.

Finally, for a higher-level role, Director or higher, soft skills now take precedence. You do need domain expertise, but its more important that you can manage people, get alignment on project priorities from different teams, present to executives about results, and review data and make determinations about the direction you should focus on next.

368 Views
Kexin Chen
Kexin Chen
Salesforce Vice President, C-Suite MarketingFebruary 14

I think it depends on what level you're coming into the role and the expectations set by the company.

For the foundation of any hire, I believe effective communicator, growth mindset, and curiosity are critical traits.

For a company looking for an SEM expert with high growth YoY, it'll be important to ensure the hard skills are in place. Similarly for a company just starting to scale their demand gen marketing function seeking a people manager, I'd index towards domain expertise vs. soft skills.

If the team has in place strong demand gen experts and is looking for someone to learn and ramp into the role, it could work. Asking questions on how long the person would have to ramp and what hard skills are required will help set up the candidate for success.

387 Views
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