Are you paying attention to candidates’ soft skills when you’re hiring for open positions? You should be. While candidates need the right mix of hard skills to succeed in engineering, technical, or technical sales roles, they need soft skills to become the full package.
To make the right hires, you need to evaluate your candidates for soft skills. Here’s what you need to know about these crucial skills and their importance.
Types of Skills
Hard skills are the specific abilities that are required for a certain job. These abilities are specific and teachable, and they can be easily defined and measured. Usually, people learn hard skills at school or in their previous jobs. For example, if you’re hiring for engineering roles, hard skills may include things like a professional engineer (P.Eng.) designation, experience with welding equipment, or the ability to repair equipment. Hard skills may also include proficiency in a foreign language, like French or Spanish.
Soft skills, also called interpersonal skills, are abilities that can be useful in any job. Unlike hard skills, these skills are vague and hard to define. They’re harder for you to quantify since candidates may not list them on their resumes. These skills include things like communication, motivation, teamwork, time management, work ethic, and flexibility.
Soft Skill Importance
At first glance, these skills may not seem that important. After all, if a candidate has the perfect mix of hard skills for the position, how could they not succeed? However, soft skills are important for any job, even the most technical ones.
When candidates have good communication and teamwork skills, they get along better with their coworkers and supervisors. This is important because internal conflicts between team members can contribute to good workers going elsewhere leaving the employer to make replacements. If someone has great technical skills, but is a source of conflict for the workplace, they’re not a good hire.
Skills like time management and work ethic are also very important to the success of a team. Candidates with these skills work hard (since they take pride in their work), and they get their work done on time. With great time management skills, candidates may even go above and beyond in their new role, which increases the company’s productivity.
Tips for the Hiring Process
During hiring, you need to pay close attention to a candidate’s soft skills. Since these skills often aren’t listed on candidates’ resumes, you’ll need to do some digging to figure out their skills. During interviews, ask candidates to describe various scenarios in their past jobs where they showed a particular soft skill, and listen carefully to their answers.
For example, if you’re very concerned about time management skills, you might ask candidates to tell you about a time when they had too many things to do. You might ask candidates to explain how they handled that situation. If you’re concerned about teamwork skills, you might ask candidates to tell you about a team project that they worked on with their coworkers. From their answers, you can determine if the candidates display the soft skills that you need workers to have.
Hiring for these skills can be difficult, so many companies choose to work with a technical recruiter. Recruiters are experts, and they often have decades of experience in conducting interviews and vetting candidates. Since they have so much experience, they know how to ask the right questions to determine if candidates have the valuable soft skills that companies want and need. You can tell the technical recruiter which skills are most important for your candidates to have, and they can help you find the right people.