Raw talent and specialized skills are important when it comes to hiring the right employees, but so are these other – more subjective qualities.
We’ve all been there before, resumes of potential new hires in-hand. By the time the stack of the twenty most qualified candidates lands on your desk, hundreds of others have already been screened and dismissed by your HR department or hiring manager. Those that remain for you to consider and approve have been carefully vetted.
Job descriptions list the required qualifications, which largely consist of what we consider “hard skills.” These are the education requirements, years of experience, and technical expertise necessary to perform a job. And these same hard skills listed in a job description are used to whittle down the applicant pool.
But what if we’re missing something? What if, as leaders, we’re putting too little emphasis on the soft skills that tend to be regarded as ‘optional’ or ‘nice to have’? As it turns out, not enough credence is given to a set of ‘soft skills’ that has risen to the top of every major employers’ wish list.
Here are the 7 most in-demand soft skills for new hires in 2018, and why it may change how leaders prioritize skills in the future.
- Friendly / Likable
This is one quality that you won’t see featured on a resume. It’s nearly impossible for a resume to capture someone’s personality outside of their writing style, which is understandably professional for resume purposes.
Being diplomatic has a lot to do with a person’s communication style and people skills. Can they articulate their point of view, response, directive, or question politely and without causing offense? Creating and maintaining a positive company culture hinges on how people treat and interact with each other and your customers.
While you don’t want your best employees going off and starting their own thing necessarily, there is something particularly attractive about an entrepreneurial-minded individual. These people can see opportunity where others may not. And they tend to take calculated risks that can pay off in big ways if you’re willing to bet on their ideas. Candidates who possess this skill are also able to figure out the best way to perform a task or complete a project without their manager having to give them step-by-step instructions. When someone has the confidence that they can “figure it out,” it’s a win-win usually.
Being organized is a desired skill for almost any job, regardless of industry. An employee who is organized is efficient, and efficient employees are productive. Disorganization leads to ineffectiveness to do a job well or meet deadlines. That in turn can create a stressful work environment to the person who is disorganized, but also to the people who work with or for him.
Life-long learning is more and more sought after by employers. Why? Because with the ever-increasing pace of life and technology, hiring people who are willing and interested in learning new things will help move the company forward. There’s an old saying that complacency leads to failure, so spotting potential employees with a natural fervor for the unknown is a worthwhile endeavor.
- Critical Thinking
Decisions are made every day by everyone. Are your employees able to make a sound decision under an array of circumstances with conflicting variables? Team members who are able to quickly process and assess a situation from multiple perspectives, and then make a determination of the best action to take may be one of the most valuable skills for your employees to have. Poor decision making can literally cost your company thousands of dollars.
Consider this: English majors tend to have incredibly high critical thinking skills, because of how their education has directly trained them to dissect a text, analyze plots, conflicts, and characters from multiple perspectives, and support their findings in a well-written narrative. How many technical positions look for candidates with this liberal arts background? And yet, it is one of the highest valued soft skills.
Creativity is what helps keep a company fresh and alive. It’s where innovative new ideas are born and masterfully realized. Creative people can have wonderful ideas or they can breathe life into someone else’s wonderful idea. Creative people have vision and a way of taking an abstract concept and creating lines around it that can be colored in and then seen by everyone else. People with creativity can also find new ways of doing something that’s more effective or impactful.
Don’t be surprised when you find more and more companies looking for the same soft skills you want. It will make an already tight job market, even more competitive to attract and retain the best of the best talent. Because finding employees that posses the technical skills you need, as well as these other socially-based skills and personality types will keep certain candidates in high-demand.
A few ways you can start screening for these soft skills during the application process (beyond the resume) is by:
- posing a problem scenario and having applicants submit a writing sample of how they would resolve the issue
- requesting letters of recommendation from past supervisors, coworkers, or educators
- reviewing applicants’ public social media accounts to get a sense of who they are and how they present themselves
- conducting brief 10-minute video introductions in lieu of the phone interview
- hosting onsite job fairs versus collecting online resumes, so you can meet and screen candidates in person
- giving your top candidates a mock assignment and assess who does the best job
Sourcing the best talent can (and probably should) be time-consuming. And some of these suggestions may feel like they take more time and energy to manage. That being said, it is far more cost-effective to take the time upfront to hire the right candidate than to deal with the expense and operational disruption of employee turnover if a new hire doesn’t work out.
What skills are you looking to hire for this year? Consider joining MGM Advisory’s Talent Acquisition Partnership Program.
While your team may be taking time off or dreaming of rib roast dinners and presents during the holiday season, your business isn’t taking a vacation. Somehow, you’ll need to find ways to keep your team on task at work while they’re thinking of trading work days for the upcoming holidays.
While managers should be compassionate and understanding about employees’ needs during the holidays, work still needs to happen and deadlines met before the New Year.
Keep employee engagement running high with these four ideas and help your teams finish the year on a strong note:
Encourage Time Off
It may sound counterproductive to encourage time off, especially if you’re pushing hard to meet year-end goals. However, team members who have the ability to focus time on their holiday shopping, visiting family, or planning their hosting responsibilities are likely to contribute successfully to their personal activities and professional responsibilities if they know they have time to balance both.
When you encourage time off, you’re reminding your team their priorities and well-being matter, too. When they’re able to take a day off to handle their own business without feeling guilty, they’ll be much more likely to return to work refreshed and ready to step in to help.
Plan a Team Building Activity
With people taking time off during the holidays, it can be difficult to rally everyone together. Hosting a year-end team building event can give everyone a chance to gather round once more before the end of the year to reflect and celebrate the past year, and get excited about the upcoming one.
With all the distractions this time of year, building comradery may be an excellent use of everyone’s time and attention. And there are plenty of giving back opportunities around the holiday that can really bond a team together in the process and spirit of helping others.
Celebrate Success Stories
The end of the year is the perfect time to pause and recognize individual and team successes. This could take the form of a formal meeting, or it could be as simple as writing thank you cards or purchasing small gifts to show appreciation.
Recognition can go a long way in reminding employees why they’re an essential part of the team. Keep your staff motivated by letting them know you appreciate all their hard work and look forward to working with them in the upcoming year.
Set and Reward Short-Term Goals
If you’re looking to boost productivity between now and the holidays, set short-term, tangible goals with rewards. The right incentives can be powerful motivators. Consider a daily contest, such as the first account manager to make 10 personal outreach calls to clients in a day. You can create different contests for each department to level the playing field and offer small rewards like a $5 gift card to the winner. These short goals work because they pay off quickly. People don’t have time to procrastinate, nor are they left wondering about the results weeks later.
If you decide to focus on these short productivity spurts, it’s important you don’t neglect your year-end goals. If you’re still pressing to make a quota for the year, consider how your short-term goals can help you reach that quota. Then, make sure you relay to your team how the two sets of goals relate.
There’s always something to look forward to during the holidays, and work can certainly be one. When you use the holidays to make work life enjoyable, your team is more likely to reward you with their best efforts in return.
Finding and Hiring Good Talent
It goes without saying that nothing is more important to your company’s success than the people you hire. No matter how popular your product or service is, dedicated and talented people are required to maintain the quality your business delivers to consumers.
Unfortunately, it’s seeming to be more difficult than ever to find these talented people. This difficulty has forced many managers and companies to reconsider their talent finding and hiring strategies. However, even a reformulated strategy can fail to acquire the right talent if it’s not informed with accurate and up-to-date information.
That’s why understanding some of the reasons managers can’t find good talent is essential to overcoming this present-day hurdle. In order to help you formulate a more effective talent finding strategy, we’ve compiled a list of the Top 3 Reasons It’s So Hard To Find Good Talent Right Now.
3 Reasons Companies Can’t Find the Right Talent
Knowing the causes of your talent-finding challenge is the first step in overcoming it. Here are three of the most common reasons and a few tips for eliminating them.
- It’s a More Transient Workforce
There was a time when employees found a good position and remained with the company for many years, often until retirement. This is no longer the case. Today, employees are much more willing to jump from job to job in pursuit of advancement, better opportunities, and the ideal situation for their current wants and needs.
Here are two ways you can begin to retain a good workforce:
- From the beginning, place a strong emphasis on what your company can do to further a talented employee’s career over the long-term.
- When trying to fill positions that require high-level talent, make sure it appeals to the desire of today’s workforce by offering telecommuting, more vacation days, and flexibility.
- A Lack of Local Talent
Many companies are located in areas that are not populated with the kind of talent necessary for your workplace. Although many talented prospective employees are more than willing to relocate, a high number of them prefer to stay close to home.
If there is a dearth of talent in your local area, it is still possible to find highly qualified people. The first way to do this is to expand your talent search to include as wide an area as possible. Another way is to research the salaries and benefits that are being offered in high talent areas and make sure that what you offer is competitive. If you want to attract the best talent to your location, you may just have to make your candidate an offer he or she can’t refuse.
- Too Few Resources Dedicated to Finding Good Talent
Finding good talent takes time, money, and consistent focus. If your company isn’t supplying HR departments with enough of these resources, your options will continue to be limited. Your company may be allocating too many of its resources to technology and marketing, and not enough to talent acquisition and retention. Don’t neglect this vital operation of your business.
The solution to this is simple — devote more resources to talent acquisition. And if you don’t have enough internal resources, consider hiring an outside employee recruiting firm to help you. Having a dedicated focus, that may also be highly specialized in the types of positions you’re trying to fill, can be a real game-changer for the kinds of new hires you bring to your team.
Before you can start to find and keep good talent, it’s necessary to understand why your company may be experiencing a drought. Is it generational? The local demographic? Not enough resource spent to hire good talent? Perhaps something else? Once you can pinpoint what’s impacting your ability to hire the kind of talent you want, you can tackle it head on. Otherwise, you’ll continue to experience the same difficulty.
The bottom line is that while the workforce is unlikely to change their tendencies, expectations, and demands, you can make the necessary adjustments to become exactly the type of company your ideal candidates want to work for.
Good leaders are often looked to for direction, advice, and problem-solving. After all, these ingredients are essential for an organization’s success. However, given that leaders come and go just like other employees, there’s one equally important attribute that every good leader should have:
The ability to spot future leaders.
How do your leadership detection skills stack up?
Take a look at these eight signs you know a future leader when you see one:
You Notice How People Interact
If you watch how people engage with each other, you might be a true leadership detector.
Most folks wouldn’t think twice about some who glances at a laptop or cell phone during a meeting or conference. However, leaders are more likely to engage with people rather than devices. They look at people when they’re speaking. They don’t need technology to make an impact. And they certainly don’t need to hide behind a screen to look productive.
You Listen to Other Employees
Potential leaders don’t always know they’re leading. Rather, they simply see their contributions as part of the day’s work. However, other people aren’t too quick to let a good employee’s efforts go unnoticed, which is why you may hear stories from others about how he or she went above and beyond on the job.
You Look at Processes, Not Just End Results
End results are important, but the journey to get there is equally important. For example, two people working on the same task might finish at different times, but that doesn’t mean the faster person did the job better. It could be that the slower person took time to follow safety procedures, help another employee, or found a better way to do something. As a spotter for potential leaders, it’s essential the end result isn’t your end-all metric.
You Read Emotions
Good leaders often excel at reading people. They know when someone is nervous, upset, or genuinely happy to be at work. Finding leadership potential means knowing how a person is feeling or what they’re thinking without speaking to them.
You’re Always Vigilant
Potential leaders don’t just exist. Just like leaders, their talents evolve over time, and it takes ongoing vigilance to watch the transformation. One encounter doesn’t always reveal leadership potential. Do they always arrive early to work? Do they tend to lose focus in afternoon meetings? Which people take initiative and which ones would rather wait for instructions?
If you’ve got a watchful eye trained on someone (or many someones), you’ll start to recognize things that could indicate their leadership abilities. Clues like body language, punctuality, and attendance can help indicate potential.
You Look Beyond Performance
Potential and performance – other than both starting with a P, these words have little to do with each other. It’s not about which employees are performing the best, but which ones have the potential to influence others and move your organization in the right direction.
You Don’t Overvalue Experience
At some point, every leader was an inexperienced follower that had to learn to lead. However, just because someone has experience leading a team doesn’t mean they have more potential than someone without experience. It could be that the person with experience did a terrible job and proved themselves empty of leadership potential. Experience can be important, but it isn’t the most important.
You Don’t Undervalue Relationships
You don’t have to be liked to be a good leader. However, good leaders must be able to connect with their teams, even when they aren’t well liked. Look at the relationships between potential leaders and other employees to see how well they can motivate others.
You Compare Input vs. Output
Good leaders are also good delegators. They don’t rely upon themselves to get the workload done. Rather, they may put in a few hours of delegation, but produce several times more work than if they’d done things themselves. As a result, their efforts are more effective without being stretched too thin.
If you share anything of these common characteristics, start turning your potential leaders into real ones. If you aren’t doing the above, there’s no better time to start than now. Your organization can continue to move forward if the right people are leading the way.
One might argue that HR’s role in corporate culture is to maintain and uphold it, and nothing more. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
HR serves as the entryway to the company, the first impression for new hires, and it’s your talent force that helps to shape and engage in your culture. HR is the one helping employees find their way, answer questions, and become involved as a dutiful employee. They may not set the stage for success, but they’re ultimately responsible for ensuring each player acts out their part.
If you find you’re in need of a culture boost, you need only turn to the right people to make it happen. Here are 20 ways HR can help:
Don’t Let Culture ‘Happen’
Your company culture is too important to leave to chance. Set goals, give it purpose, and know what you want to achieve.
Inject Culture into Everything
Culture isn’t a separate entity at work. It should be part of everything you do. From hiring to training to onboarding and more, everything HR does should reflect cultural values.
Conduct Ongoing Feedback
Surveys and focus groups give employees a way to share their opinions on a regular basis, while also feeling part of the team.
Share Feedback Results
Feedback is useless unless you do something with it. When you make changes based on feedback, let your team know it’s because someone spoke up.
Use the findings from surveys and focus groups to show leadership how certain attitudes or opinions can affect the company culture, and offer suggestions on how negativity can be reshaped.
Hire Based on Cultural Fit
Skills and prior work history are helpful, but can’t guarantee organizational success if the candidate is a poor cultural fit. Choose candidates that exhibit cultural potential – skills can be learned later.
Remove Unfit Leaders
HR may not have the direct ability to remove leaders, but they should influence leadership when those in other leadership roles are not living up to expectations. Not doing so may result in an exodus of your best talent.
Set the Example
It’s an old piece of advice, but you should exhibit the qualities you expect from your team. You can use your influence to help others create a better aligned vision within the company.
Be open and forthcoming with the employees. Backoffice politics can make you seem untrustworthy. When you’re transparent, employees are more likely to reciprocate.
In our digital age, there are countless tools that can encourage ongoing communication. Invest in tools like Slack, Trello, or Yammer to keep the conversation flowing. You’d be surprised at what you could learn from others.
People like to be noticed for their efforts, even if they feel like they’re simply doing their job. Make sure not to let good work go unnoticed. Even a little company-wide recognition can go a long way in motivating others.
Things may happen that’s completely out of HR’s control. Employees may look to HR to see how they react to changes in the company, so HR should be prepared to remain positive.
No one likes to be micromanaged. It’s not efficient and does nothing to inspire trust. Rather, HR can influence others by letting them choose to participate in culture activities, like team building and group tasks. However, you can encourage participation by letting them know what’s in it for them.
From dress codes to schedules, companies recognize flexibility can help boost morale while reducing turnover. This may be out of HR’s hands without leadership approval, so you may need to have a meeting with the higher-ups to see what you can offer employees.
As a leader, your ability to motivate and inspire your employees relies on how well you build their trust. When you can earn the trust of others, they listen to you and are willing to work hard for you. They’re confident in your decisions. And, even in uncertain times, they believe in you.
Establishing trust and being an effective leader doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it occur automatically. Rather, experts have found that it’s the little details that pack the most power, starting with listening.
Here’s how you can become a better leader by mastering the art of listening:
Great Leaders Don’t Need to Remind Others of Their Greatness
Oftentimes, leaders achieve their role because of their skills and abilities. You see things others don’t. You think outside the box. You have extensive knowledge and expertise in your field.
But that doesn’t mean that your team needs to know all the things that make you qualified. Instead, your team should be able to tell why you’re capable of leading them by your actions and the way you treat others.
Even the most intelligent leaders in their field wouldn’t be nearly as successful if they treated others as inferior. How you interact with those around shows your staff your character, which in turn can affect your relationship with your employees.
If you want to earn your employees’ trust, showing them how they matter goes a long way, and listening is a powerful way to make others feel heard and that their voice matters, too.
How to Build Trust Through Better Listening
First, keep in mind that listening is a skill, and skills take time and practice to hone. It’s not a matter of going through the motions to show you’re on the same side they are. You’ll need to make a genuine, concerted effort to seek opportunities to engage with your staff if you want to improve your listening skills.
You’ll also want to develop a safe, yet structured sharing culture so your employees can get comfortable with offering you constructive insights. This will likely mean you’ll first have to get in the habit of asking meaningful questions, even if you already feel you know the answer or have made a decision. Let your employees reach conclusions and share them with you. Process what they are sharing with you by thoughtfully considering what they have to say before responding.
As a leader, you likely didn’t get to your position by sitting quiet. Chances are you worked to be heard and have a resume that reflects a lifetime of meaningful contributions to the positions you’ve held and projects you’ve led. But now that you are in a leadership position, you can patiently wait to have the last word instead of the first. Being an effective leader means setting aside your own needs and agenda and directing your attention to the person you’re listening to. Taking in other people’s ideas will help you formulate your own, and you just may gain a new perspective you wouldn’t have otherwise.
Ask employees for their feedback on specific issues, then sit patiently while you listen to their responses. Starting communication not only shows you care what they have to say, but also gives you a chance to connect to individuals rather than the group.
To truly master the skill of listening, act on the information you’ve been provided by your employees. Nothing makes someone feel heard more than when you implement their idea. Not every idea can be executed, of course. So in those instances where an idea won’t be acted upon, still be sure to acknowledge the contribution and consider soliciting their help for what will be implemented when appropriate.
By giving yourself the opportunity to listen to your employees, you can actually wind up unleashing their greatest potential. And what a mark of great leadership that is – because when your employees succeed, you succeed.
Building a successful career means occasionally leaving your current position for greener pastures. Switching jobs is a matter of course today – long gone are the days of working the same job from graduation to retirement, but it can be tricky figuring out if you should pull the trigger and leave your existing job for a new one.
Here are five questions you should ask yourself if you’re considering a switch in employment.
Does the New Position Pay Better?
Compensation is on everyone’s minds. Finding a position with a different company that offers you better pay is always a good thing to find, especially if you feel you’re underpaid in your current position.
Keep in mind that payment isn’t the only financial concern you may have. Benefits like retirement savings, health insurance, and stock options need to be taken into account as well. If a new position doesn’t offer you an attractive benefits package, it might not be worth switching.
Will This Improve My Quality of Life?
It’s not all paychecks and benefits. Sure, leaving a low-paying job for one that will see you compensated better seems like a good idea, but you also have to consider any lifestyle changes that you’ll have to adopt in order to function in this new position.
A good example of this is if you’re considering switching to a job that requires shift work. If you’ve never done overnight shifts before, it’s likely going to be a difficult transition process, and you might find out that you’re simply not cut out for it. Torturing your mind and body for a few extra dollars an hour usually isn’t worth the trade off.
Am I Capable of Performing this New Job?
Going from a specific position in one company to a similar or identical position in another is probably the easiest switch ever. However, if you’re leaving one industry and entering another one – one that you may have little to no experience in – you need to consider if you can perform in this new role adequately.
There are countless examples of performance issues that could be potential recipes for disaster. An introvert taking a job that requires heavy phone duties is often a bad idea due to the psychological stress it places them under, for example. If you have questions about your abilities to perform in a new position, consider a switch carefully.
Have I Exhausted All Options at My Current Position?
Wanting to switch jobs is usually due to a dissatisfaction with your current position. Interpersonal conflicts, lack of advancement opportunities, and unsafe working conditions can all play a role in making you want to jump ship.
That being said, examine if you’ve exhausted all your options at your current job first. Bring your concerns to a superior and discuss them to see if there are any options open to you. You may find that conditions can improve enough for you to stay.
Will the New Environment Be a Positive One?
Switching jobs can be like a breath of fresh air when you’re walking out of a negative work environment and into a more positive one. Of course, the reverse can also be true – getting blindsided by a toxic work environment at a new job is disheartening, to say the least!
Do your best to get a feel for the culture surrounding your new position. Research the company, discover if it has a public reputation – good or bad – and ask others who work there for their honest opinions. If something’s wrong, you’ll be sure to get an earful.
Nobody’s perfect. We’ve all got foibles and flaws, and we all do our best to overcome them – or at least confine them to our personal lives. However, professionally-minded people need to be exceedingly aware of some habits that truly have no place in a work environment, especially if you have leadership responsibilities.
Here are six bad habits that leaders need to kick to the curb in order to be their most effective selves.
Pretending You Know It All
Nobody wants to appear unknowledgable to their friends, family members, or work colleagues. However, habitually pretending to know everything about everything is a terrible habit if you’re in a leadership position.
If you’re so preoccupied with appearing intelligent and informed, your need to demonstrate your knowledge can have a deleterious effect on the regard your team members have for you. This goes double if you insist that your information is true, as this earns you a reputation for always needing to be right and unwilling to hear out others.
Being Inauthentic to Hide Your Flaws
Closely related to pretending you know it all, being inauthentic to hide your perceived flaws can also erode the trust your team needs to have in you if you’re going to lead them effectively.
Instead, go with being authentic so that you can be the type of leader who is approachable and trustworthy.
Not Embracing Conflict and/or Confrontation
Nobody relishes the idea of having hard conversations, whether they’re with friends or colleagues. However, sometimes confrontation or conflict becomes inevitable.
Need to correct a team member for inappropriate conduct, or go to bat for one of them in a conversation with a superior? Approach these necessary confrontations and conflicts with authority and grace so that you can resolve any issues quickly and effectively.
Being a Perfectionist
In a business environment, it’s natural to take pride in providing or producing high-quality products or services. However, if you have a perfectionist streak, this can create negativity when your team’s output “isn’t good enough” to meet your unrealistic quality thresholds.
Not wanting to be held responsible for low-quality work is a positive trait, but pushing too hard and too far for results that are impractical or impossible destroys team morale. Letting go of your perfectionism and instead adopting reasonable goals is a better option.
Not Leading From the Front
Being an effective leader involves knowing the value of delegation. However, simply assigning tasks to team members is often not enough. Accomplishing projects on time often requires deeper participation, leading the charge from the front lines and getting things done alongside team members.
Not Maintaining a Professional Demeanor
There’s nothing wrong with developing good relationships with your team members. In fact, doing so is integral to fostering a well-functioning team that trusts one another. However, developing relationships by engaging in unprofessional demeanor can be a recipe for disaster.
While it may feel good to be seen as “one of the boys” in the eyes of your team members, at the end of the day you’re the one in charge – and the one responsible. Maintaining a level of professional detachment reinforces your leadership role and contributes to your team’s overall success.
It’s an idea that seems positively ancient by now, but there was a time not so long ago when companies knew exactly what they were looking for in potential employees. In terms of training, knowledge, and expertise, it was a straightforward question of pedigree and ‘can they do a, b, and c.’ It was much of the same with personal qualities and work habits as well. The whole process was little more than checking qualifications off a list.
Needless to say, it’s different now. What your company needs is constantly changing, sometimes from quarter to quarter. If you’re going to keep up, it’s imperative that you update your list of must-have qualities regularly. This post will help you do just that. In it, you’ll discover what skills are currently most in demand and how to spot them in potential employees.
In the following sections, we use the now standard practice of dividing the most coveted employee attributes into two broad categories. These categories are 1) the set of ‘hard skills’ that typically involve advanced training and technical expertise in areas that are directly applicable to a specific job, and 2) the so-called ‘soft skills’ that are more personal in nature and allow employees who possess them to work more productively with others across a wide spectrum of circumstances and environments.
Here are the most sought-after skills among candidates today:
The Most In Demand Hard Skills
- Advanced information technology. Information is no longer the ‘new currency.’ Rather, it seems to be permanently enshrined at the top of our commerce pantheon, making skills in Big Data, NoSQL, and HTML5 some of the most sought after in the corporate world.
- User Interface Design. Mining and organizing all this Big Data is futile if it can’t be presented to consumers in a way that’s simple and attractive enough to generate a profit. That means employees with advanced UID skills will become increasingly valuable.
- Digital Marketing Analytics. The commercial universe is metric-driven now and that’s not going away. Unfortunately for some businesses, this universe is also bloated with competition and buried links. Candidates with high end digital analytic skills can deliver your marketing message to the right consumers, so scoop them up as quickly as you can.
Sighting hard skills in potential employees is a fairly straightforward process. Depending on your industry, these hard skills will vary, but candidates will either possess the skills you need or they don’t. You can start assessing a candidate’s hard skills by looking for applicable certifications, training, and experience. It’s also important to involve the right management team members in the interview and selection process. In-house managers who possess advanced knowledge of the relevant skills are in the best position to review a candidate’s portfolio, speak with their references, and pose the right questions during the interview process.
The Soft Skills You Should Be Looking For
There was a time when you could refer to a set of attributes called ‘soft skills’ and people would know you were talking about someone who ‘communicated well’ or ‘worked well with others.’ Soft skills have become so crucial to a company’s success that you have to be much more specific about which ‘soft skills’ you mean today.
There are literally hundreds of soft skills a candidate might possess, but a few stand out as the most fundamental. Among these few are collaborative skills, the ability and willingness to delegate efficiently, and emotional intelligence. These three skills are intimately related. Each one of them is interdependent on the others and they are the attributes most likely to foster creativity, innovation, and meaningful teamwork.
Because they are more subjective than hard skills, sighting these qualities in potential employees can be tricky. The best methodology includes asking for detailed accounts of projects they’ve managed, probing questions about their crisis management techniques, and spending enough time with the candidate to assess their level of skills in these areas properly.
Does your new candidate want the position, or do they really want the position? Here are a few ways you can tell the difference between someone who’s passionate about advancing their career with your company and someone who’s just looking for a paycheck.
They’ve Done Their Research
When a candidate shows up to an interview and takes the time to discuss the more interesting points of your company’s history, its corporate culture, the recent accolades the company or its employees have won, or any other major new developments in the company or the business sector it deals with, it’s obvious that the candidate is passionate enough about the position to do his or her homework.
This demonstrates not just an attention to detail but also the ability to learn, follow through, and adapt a plan during an application process. These are all excellent skills for a candidate to have, no matter the position for which they’re interviewing.
They Don’t Rely On Spell-Check
First impressions are everything, and in many cases that starts with the cover letter and resume. It’s not hard to proofread a document by hand instead of just trusting that spell-check is going to catch any errors, but it does take time. A candidate willing to take this time – even for such a simple yet important task – shows an interviewer that he or she is dedicated to getting things right the first time; that’s the kind of attribute you want in a candidate.
Too many candidates rely on the built-in spell-check in their word processor of choice, but its limitations mean it can’t – and won’t – catch lots of different types of errors. If these errors surface in a cover letter, a CV, an application, or any other type of correspondence, it’s an ironclad guarantee that the candidate’s chances of landing the position are close to zero. On the other hand, any candidate that knows enough about the English language to not confuse “your” with “you’re” or “lose” with “loose” is, by default, placed head-and-shoulders above the rest.
An error-free first impression signals a high attention to detail in their work ethic and signals how seriously they are taking the opportunity with your company.
They Show Up On Time – Or Early
Showing up on time is, again, one of those things that should be a no-brainer. A candidate who shows up early to an interview is one that takes the opportunity seriously. It’s also a candidate who planned ahead enough to know how to get to the interview location beforehand. Despite this, many candidates don’t show up on time for their own interview.
Beyond the demonstration of foresight, a candidate that shows up early to an interview shows that the candidate values the time an interviewer is setting aside for the opportunity to get his or her foot in the door. It showcases the ability of the candidate to think beyond their own needs and desires and how their actions affect those around them.
They Come Prepared With Ideas on How They Can Add Value to Your Business
Everyone is in sales these days and landing a job is no different. If your candidate comes to the interview prepared to speak specifically to how they will contribute to your company, you know this is someone who wants the position. It not only demonstrates enthusiasm for the position, but it shows that they have a firm grasp of your company’s needs and the role you’re looking to fill.
Knowing what someone did for another company is good for establishing experience and credibility. But when a candidate can help a hiring manager envision them in the role within your company, you know they are ready to accept your job offer.
It’s really not hard to tell whether any given candidate is truly passionate about the position they’re seeking. Anyone can put in just a minimal effort to accomplish things like being early to an interview, proofreading their resume, or spending half an hour looking up a company on Google; the difference is that not everyone does.
Finding a candidate that’s serious enough to take these simple but important steps is a surefire sign that they’re more than just mildly interested in the position. All these actions demonstrate the qualities of a good employee – being conscious of others around them, knowing the importance of professional presentation, and being willing to put in extra effort without being prompted – and it’s these telltale signs that help identify who’s going to be your company’s new blood – and keep you from hiring the next dud.