It is often said that hard skills will get you an interview but you need soft skills to get and keep a job. For most companies, that is. However, it is different in telemarketing services. Being sales oriented companies, telemarketing services place great significance in people skills, or soft skills. Thus, telemarketing services applicants with a high level of soft skills are most likely to qualify for job openings.
This is not to say that hard skills are being ignored in this industry. On the contrary, telemarketing services also take a close scrutiny at an applicant’s hard skills, most specially in computer literacy and fluency in a specific language and continuously provide training in these areas. Educational attainment and background also come into play when agents have to serve a highly specialized field such as medicine, finance and law.
But what tips the scale in favor of soft skills is that a good Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) plays a significant role in the accomplishment of routine tasks of telemarketing agents. For example: cold calling, which is a basic telemarketing activity, requires agents to talk effectively and emphatize accurately, build a relationship of trust, respect and productive interaction within a span of a few minutes, moderating responses most specially when dealing with aggressive and negative responses from a stranger. The mentioned requirements are tenets of soft skills.
Surviving in a telemarketing services environment also requires a solid foundation of intrapersonal and interpersonal communication competencies which are part of soft skills. Self regulation of attention and stress management skills largely depends on intrapersonal communication. Significant interpersonal competencies that are needed are social-emotional awareness of co-workers, self-presentation, management, getting along with others, negotiation, conflict resolution and decision making.
It must be noted however that although soft skills are highly regarded in telemarketing services and in other industries, in general it is still difficult to quantify and assess it. Up to the present, there still exists a significant disagreement even in the definition of Emotional Intelligence (EI), which somehow extends to soft skills. There are three main models of EI: Ability EI model, Mixed Models of EI, Trait EI Model. The current measure of Ability EI model is the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) which is based on a series of emotion-based problems solving items. Mixed Models of EI use two measurement tools: 1. The Emotional Competency Inventory (ECI) and the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI) 2.
The_Emotional_Intelligence_Appraisal|The Emotional Intelligence Appraisal, which was created in 2001 and which can be taken as a self-report or 360-degree assessment. Trait EI model uses the Bar-On Emotinal Quotient Inventory (EQ-i). There are limitations and criticisms in the measurement of EI for all of the models.
Taking both the significance of soft skills in telemarketing services and the difficulty of accurately evaluating EQ, one could surmise that hiring personnel in the said industry is still highly intuitive. And although telemarketing companies invest on training for soft skills improvements, having a high level of EQ and soft skills at the outset will prove to be an important factor in your initial survival and promotion in its hierarchy.