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Soft skills are just as important as hard skills when hiring the right candidate

11/21/2017  |  By: Jeff Otto, Recruiter, Contract & Direct Hire

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Are your employees not performing the way you thought they would? Do you have recently hired staff who leave after a few months? If you have employees who looked great on paper but are not working out, you are not alone.

Matching the right candidate with the right employer is key, but companies are struggling more and more with turnover, productivity and other employee issues. Why? Too often their candidates-turned- employees end up lacking crucial "soft skills" needed for long-term success.

Communication, organization and leadership may come to mind when you think about soft skills. While these are important, employers are finding other attributes to be even more vital – and harder to come by.

Unlike technical skills, which show up on a resume, soft skills are not easy to identify or quantify. But asking the right questions during the screening process can elicit valuable information to help you determine whether a candidate will be a good fit not only for the role, but for your organization.

Consider these soft skills as you look at your recruiting efforts for the year ahead:

Patience

Before you make the offer, determine whether the candidate is willing to learn the full scope of the job and has the patience to do what it takes to get there. Avoid hiring employees who expect to move up the ladder without putting in the time. Add team members who are in it for the long haul and want to contribute to the company's overall success. Ask the candidate what she'd like to achieve during her first year if selected for the role. If the candidate looks like a job hopper on her resume, she probably is.

Humility

No one knows it all, and least of all, new employees. Hire people who want to keep learning rather than those who are always right. Candidates who make high demands without anything to back them up are red flags. Avoid those who inflate their successes or take themselves too seriously (Forbes, Jan. 2017).

Salary expectations can provide insight into an applicant's view of his abilities.

Attention to detail

It may seem obvious, but it's just as important to avoid careless errors in the workplace as it was in school. Hire employees who follow instructions and take the time to make sure their work is correct. Employees who are in a hurry to receive instant gratification will make more mistakes. Typos and incorrect grammar are signs to move on to another candidate.

Follow-through

Staff your organization with problem solvers who persevere until the job is done, no matter how ambiguous or complex it is. People who give up easily when faced with challenges will bring down morale in your company. Ask the candidate to give you an example of overcoming a challenge resulting in a positive outcome.

If you focus only on technical skills when filling positions, you are missing out on a key element of the recruiting process. Whether you use internal resources or an outside agency, make sure your hiring process uncovers the soft skills needed to be successful. Investing more time and being thorough on the front end will save you time and headaches in the long run.

Jeff Otto is a recruiter with LBMC Staffing Solutions, LLC, in Chattanooga. He specializes in maximizing efficiencies for employers seeking contract and direct hire employees as well as candidates seeking employment. He can be reached at 423-755-0746 or jotto@lbmc.com.

Soft skills are just as important as hard skills when hiring the right candidate

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