Recruitment Strategy

Hiring for Soft Skills is More Important Than Ever

Soft skills often occupy the backseat in vetting candidates. Of course, these traits are highly desirable as they help boost productivity and communication within your organization. Most importantly, these skills are often found in exceptional candidates who have the potential to set the pace for the rest of the team. But as we all know, most companies have specific requirements, hard skills without which the candidate could not perform well. Soft skills, on the other hand, are less about the role, and more about the social dynamics of the team.

As a recruiter or hiring manager, onboarding the right candidate for the right job or the right company takes focus and dedication. There’s a rare balance that needs to be maintained. What if your candidate has all the right hard skills but none of the inclusive, diversifying traits that would ensure they’re a perfect fit?

Moreover, given recent global events, are soft skills more important than ever?

What are soft skills?

People define soft skills in different ways, but they’re always along the same lines. They’re all those interpersonal and communication skills that pour over into the work the candidate does. Any modern workplace needs a social aspect, and that’s where these traits come in handy.

  • Communication skills

This is what comes to mind when we think of soft skills that boost productivity in the workplace. Communication skills are important especially for a company that relies on team collaboration. Your candidate might just be the missing factor to coordinate, encourage and set the pace for the team to communicate more effectively.

  • Leadership skills

Critical for management and consultancy roles, but valuable for junior positions as well. Leadership skills ensure that your team always has a solid pillar to lean on or go to for direction.

  • Creativity

It goes without saying that creativity is necessary for success. Recruiting candidates who constantly strive to innovate and change the status quo adds a refreshing and exciting element to any company. These recruits are the “make or break” factor that pushes the entire team forward.

  • Critical thinking

Critical thinking and problem solving go hand in hand. Though some roles leave very little room for it, it’s handy for crisis management and aversion. Candidates with a sense of critical thinking can help their coworkers achieve more in less time, and even re-orient their way of thinking under pressure.

  • Dependability

A candidate that can be relied on to get things done, and done right. Dependable employees are the cornerstone of a company. This particular soft skill usually sees them climbing high in the company’s hierarchy.

  • Empathy

Empathy simply means that the candidate will be an agreeable person. This is important for inclusion in company culture. The goal is to hire individuals that are easy to work and get along with.

  • Adaptability & Time Management Skills

This particular soft skill is extremely important for employers and is surprisingly a very common trait for creative employees. Such a candidate can be trusted to make the most of their time and push the limits of their work to further improve the workplace’s efficiency.

How can I hire for soft skills?

This depends on your approach to recruitment. Generally speaking, HR departments and recruitment agencies utilizing an ATS can have access to more in-depth information about the candidate’s capabilities. Tools such as Manatal’s social media enrichment and LinkedIn extension can go a long way in defining the candidate on a skill-based level.  On the other hand, The resume and cover letter say a lot about the candidate prior to the interview. The way they’re written can convey emphasis on examples of teamwork, collaboration, or general flair for creativity.

Alternatively, there are many questions that can be asked during the interview phase to determine whether the candidate possesses the soft skills you’re looking for. Asking for examples of crisis situations that they’ve solved portrays critical thinking and dependability. Asking about examples of conflict resolution in the workplace can display empathy and leadership. Their proudest professional moment and most difficult or undefined task can indicate communication, creativity, and adaptability. The candidate’s answers demonstrate just what type of employee they will be post-placement.

Why now?

With the threat of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic looming overhead, a large number of companies have taken their operations to the virtual world, allowing their employees to work remotely to ensure their safety and that of their colleagues. In this type of setting, and given the quick rate at which Covid-19 is spreading, it’s expected that motivation and productivity would dip to a certain degree. However, employees that possess soft skills will almost certainly drive the team into a momentum that surpasses that of an active workplace. Though most companies would prefer a proactive office environment, the spread of the new coronavirus has forced our hand. But this doesn’t have to affect operations negatively. Covid-19 or not, hiring for the right balance of soft and hard skills gives you employees that would prosper in any sort of environment.

Leveraging the right tools during the recruitment process is vital to locating these individuals. Whether by sourcing information from their social media, LinkedIn profiles, or diving deep into their applications, defining their soft skills is a matter of time. Manatal’s ATS provides features that analyze and parse the candidate’s application, enrich their profile with their social media accounts and even automatically recommend the best candidate for the right job. This goes a long way in simplifying the journey to locating capable, reliable and creative candidates.

Targeting the right combination of soft skills takes a very well defined approach. It’s also a time-consuming and difficult task for recruiters and HR professionals. But given the demand and necessity of soft skills, especially in these trying times, it’s a task that’s well worth the effort.

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