People skills win out, survey finds

From Friday's Globe and Mail

Having a winning personality will open more doors in a job search than a brilliant résumé, a new study has found.

When presented with accounting or finance candidates with similar qualifications, 34 per cent of 270 Canadian chief financial officers interviewed said applicants' people skills would tip the balance over such attributes as industry experience and software proficiency.

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This is up significantly from five years ago, when interpersonal skills were cited as a decisive factor by only 1 per cent of respondents. In 2004, 55 per cent cited industry experience as the decisive factor, compared to just 28 per cent this year.

The results suggest that office cultures have become much more interactive and collaborative in an economically stressed economy, said Kathryn Bolt, president of staffing service Accountemps, which commissioned the survey.

Describing past experiences that required strong teamwork, leadership and communication skills will give candidates a leg up on the competition, she suggests. "Practising responses to interview questions will help candidates relax and make a good impression with the employer."

H1N1 flu won't stop

many Quebec workers

Many employees in Quebec say they plan to show up for work even if they have the H1N1 flu virus, according to a survey by Quebec's human resources association.

The survey found 24 per cent of 1,000 workers surveyed said they would still go to work if they or a household member had the flu. And 59 per cent said they routinely go to work when ill for any reason.

However, 44 per cent of respondents said they would be afraid to go to work if a co-workers had the H1N1 flu.

And despite all the publicity about the threat and prevention, 45 per cent said their employers hadn't introduced any preventive measures, while 53 per cent said they hadn't changed personal habits, such as washing hands more often or using hand sanitizers.

Cost cutting bites into

planned bonuses, raises

Corporate cost cutting has led 55 per cent of U.S. companies to reduce planned bonuses this year and 42 per cent have scaled back raises, according to a survey of financial officers at 836 companies by accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP. Although the numbers are high, they are more optimistic than a similar survey the company did in the spring, when 65 per cent of respondents said they weren't planning to give raises, and 47 per cent didn't expect to hand out bonuses.