You’re down to your final two candidates. Candidate A is technically proficient. However, after interviewing them and speaking with their references, you sense their people skills aren’t very polished. Candidate B has less experience, but a former manager complimented their commitment, teamwork, and eagerness to learn. Who should you hire?
These days, recruiters are focusing on soft skills more than ever before. In fact, in a 2018 report from digital consulting firm West Monroe, 98 percent of HR leaders said soft skills were important in landing a technology position – but 67 percent had withheld a job offer from an otherwise qualified technical candidate solely because they lacked soft skills. Not limited to tech, stories like this are common across all industries.
Why You Should Consider Soft Skills When Hiring
What are Soft Skills?
“Soft skills” describe a person’s style of work and ability to interact with others, indicating how well a person might fit into the job and workplace. They complement “hard skills,” or the technical ability to perform a task, like fixing a computer or operating heavy machinery.
Says SkillSurvey, “soft skills aren’t the things you say, they’re the things you demonstrate.”
What Soft Skills Does Your Job Require?
There are dozens of soft skills that can help define everything from a candidate’s attitude to their work ethic and leadership abilities.
Some important soft skills include:
- Time Management
- Conflict Resolution
Not every candidate needs to display every trait. For instance, some jobs require a person to think quickly on their feet, while other jobs benefit from a more analytical approach. Decide which skills are most important to the role you’re offering, then ask interview questions that will help you determine which candidates possess these skills.
Interviewing for Soft Skills
How do you determine if your candidate is a team player or a problem solver? Soft skill assessment can begin with your phone interview. “How a person talks on the phone – regardless of what they say – says a lot about their ability to communicate,” says Painless Hire.
An online or in-person interview offers additional opportunities to study a candidate. Were they on time and prepared? Did they make eye contact? Were they focused or distant? Pay attention to their body language for additional clues.
Some companies ask candidates to take assessment tests designed to identify particular attributes.
Open-ended interview questions, also known as behavior-based questions, help reveal certain traits in a candidate by encouraging them to tell a story. Their responses can uncover traits that will dovetail well in your work environment.
Weighing Your Decision
Ultimately, the difference between technical skills and soft skills comes down to what a person knows versus how a person behaves. Technical skills can be taught, while character traits are hard to train or change.
How are Your Candidate’s Soft Skills?
Considering a candidate’s soft skills may help tip the scales toward a person who will fit in with your department and culture.
For help finding the right candidates, contact the hiring experts at Pro Resources Staffing Services.