Soft skills are becoming increasingly important to today’s employers, and this requirement is equally as applicable to larger firms as it is to the UK’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). A new study by employment matchmaking social network Wozedu has supported this idea, revealing that people skills are one the most sought after candidate features for SME HR and recruitment managers. Questioning 200 of this group, the survey found that that the ability to build relationships with different people both internally and externally to an organisation, sat in second place amongst the most important factors for a candidate. This list was completed by work experience (38%) in first place and technology skills (24%) in third place. Further figures from the survey revealed where today’s SME employers are focusing their candidate search, with 23% of SMEs working alongside educators and a fifth attending job fairs to hunt out graduate talent. Mismatch between employer and candidate expectations revealed Further figures from the research showed that young people put academic skills ahead of soft skills, when it comes to the qualities they imagine are most likely to put them under the employer’s radar. They listed a 2:1 degree (48%) and A Levels (34%) as the most relevant skills to have under their belt when vying for jobs. 35% of young people taking part in the research also revealed that they searched out information on their future careers from universities or other locations of learning. Commenting on the mismatch between candidate and employer expectations Wozedu CEO and founder Oliver Donovan said: “Youth employment stands at more than three quarters of a million as of August 2014, and many people in work feel ill-equipped or unhappy. “There is a real urgency to eradicate career misconceptions and encourage close relationships between the two groups.” If you are an SME employer keen to create a better dialogue with your graduate candidates, Discovery Graduates can help with all stages of the graduate recruitment process including attraction, recruitment and retention.