Checking Out Candidate Soft Skills During Recruitment

01 June 2017 Peak Recruitment

Stacks of files.

At every recruitment session, your main goal will be to find a prospective candidate who matches the job description. You will therefore be looking out for those specific skills, talents and experiences which evidence that this unique individual will be able to carry out all the tasks within the job role. This has to be your primary concern – but it is far from the only area you should be checking out.

Of course, you will use evidence from past experience and qualifications gained to verify that they are likely to be able to fulfill what they profess to be able to facilitate, but you also need to check out how your bright new spark will fit into the work environment. These are the soft skills you need to be looking out for. At the end of the day, you may have just found a genius for completing set tasks, but if they cannot work under pressure, have little confidence to allow them to work on their own, or find team-play difficult, then they may be about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

In fact, worse than a chocolate teapot – they may disrupt teams and processes in the first instance, it may lead to cashing out a great deal more money on training and supervision, but most of all if you have to go through the whole employment process again you are losing time and money by the bucket-load.

By also focusing on soft skills as well as the direct obvious skills needed for the job, you are automatically preparing the way for individuals who will stay with your company a long time – simply because they can fit into the larger picture. This, in itself, will cut down on heavy staff turnover.

Assessment Tool and Filter Process

Paying attention to soft skills at interview time itself can be useful assessment tool and offer an effective filter process. You are likely to have more than one candidate who presents with all those skills you may be looking for (especially if you have reached short-listing) and paying good attention to the soft skills the candidate will be bringing to the job, will enable you be much more confident in choosing the right person.

Interestingly, digging deeper to find out a little more detail about those soft skills isn’t usually a case of asking closed questions (i.e questions which give the answer yes, I can or no I can’t). It is more about asking those covert, seemingly behaviour-style questions which will give you an idea as to how they respond in specific situations.

Questions About Hobbies Can Offer A Mine Of Information About Your Candidate

For instance, questions about the kind of hobbies someone is interested in can offer a mine of information. A candidate who enjoys high-adrenalin sports (such as bungee – jumping; paragliding and wing-walking) are likely to be risk-takers. Great if you need someone to go that extra mile and take chances, but is perhaps more likely the role may need a cool-head and a safe pair of hands.

The candidate who plays a lot of football, netball, ice hockey etc. is likely to be a good team player. This type of person is also likely to be highly competitive and, if they are telling you about awards they have gained, then it is a good guess that they are also high achievers.

Communication Skills Are Essential in Any Job Role

Communication skills are essential in most jobs, but is not always apparent when the candidate is under immense pressure during the interview. Consider asking them about a time when their input helped a group move forward or achieve. This can also give you an idea of their status within a team and how they collaborate.

Adaptability and Learning

Is the candidate adaptable? In order for candidates to work well within different environments and various scenarios, they need to be adaptable. Fundamentally this calls for the ability to learn new skills when the need arises. During interview, ask for evidence that they have (and how they have learnt) new skills on the job throughout their career.

Critical Observation

An employee must be able to take everyday data that’s thrown at them and analyse it in the best possible way. This is the difference between getting a newly certified graduate and an experienced employee with no qualifications. The former needs to prove they can use theory they have learnt in a real situation. Use case studies, set scenarios or role play to determine how the candidate will deal with real situations.

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