If you’re hiring right now, you know how difficult it is to find the right candidate for your team. Whether it’s sifting through resumes, conducting phone screenings, or rallying your current employees for referrals, it can quickly become daunting to build a pool of candidates, much less identify the right fit for your team. While there is never a guarantee that a new hire will be your next rockstar, there are some key indicators of potential top performers that you don’t traditionally see on a resume.
Rather than fixating on a list of qualifications that are related to your current opening, consider gauging a candidate’s soft skills (skills such as organization, communication, and adaptability). Soft skills translate across different industries and roles while also being more consistent indicators of long-term performance. Check out four benefits of hiring for soft skills below:
1. Better Communication
It doesn’t matter what type of role you are hiring for: communication is fundamental in any industry. Even in roles that do not involve heavy communication in the day-to-day responsibilities, it is still necessary for teamwork or reporting back to a supervisor. Thankfully, communication is also one of the easiest skills to assess, as it begins from the moment you make contact with a candidate.
To get the best idea of someone’s communication skills, we recommend conducting interviews through multiple forms of communication with an emphasis on the method most utilized in the role: for example, if they are going to be on the phone a lot in a given position then ensure that some stage of the interview involves a phone screening or mock phone call roleplay. By ensuring that a candidate is an effective communicator, you can avoid potential friction within your team and give that individual additional responsibilities earlier while trusting their performance.
2. Company Culture
Whether you know someone from a past company or current employer, everyone can recall a coworker who is incredibly skilled at their role but may not be friendly or conversational. While it takes all kinds of personalities to make up any given team, team members who represent and uphold a healthy company culture are the most essential to the long-term growth of your company.
Individuals with strong soft skills are more adept at navigating and fostering company culture as they tend to be more empathetic and observant. This can alleviate the uncertainty from leadership in gauging company culture by having these team members who can avoid or de-escalate conflict and provide support to their coworkers in ways in which management may not have the time or resources. While not everyone may be the right fit to further reinforce your company culture, at minimum we recommend ensuring each hire aligns with your culture in some capacity.
With social media now prevalent in the professional world, networking has evolved from in-person events to an array of different forms of connection. Now both prospective and current team members can interact with your company through platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook, whether through engaging with your content more passively or by tagging your company in their own social media content. This feeds into recruitment by creating a network of brand ambassadors for your company who can better convey your company culture to outsiders while increasing awareness and interest in your team.
Team members with soft skills are going to be more inclined to share your content on their own accord because networking internally or externally is what they tend to enjoy about their company outside of working hours: those with strong soft skills are generally more social by nature. This supports recruitment as it offers an inside look into your company for potential prospects who might otherwise not see your content online or otherwise.
One of the key benefits of hiring for soft skills is investing in candidates looking to invest their time and effort into their team. Candidates who are skillset-minded will more often be looking for the greenest pastures and ways to get a step ahead, which could make short-term gain more tempting. These individuals also tend to focus more on their own position in a company rather than the bigger picture, and as a result, they will leave more quickly than someone who may have the soft skills for a role while growing into more specific qualifications.
While hiring the candidate who has better soft skills versus the candidate who is more experienced you are offsetting the initial training and investment with the greater possibility that the candidate could grow into a leader within your company.