Why You Should Hire for Soft Skills

By Adam Vortherms:

Building the right team for your organization takes no small measure of persistence, talent, and even luck on your part. Candidates can prove that they have well-developed hard skills, as well as training and education, but to recruit and hire the most valuable candidates, you must also factor soft skills into the equation. Soft skills, which are increasingly proving to be invaluable to a well-functioning workplace, are essential but more challenging to ascertain in a candidate.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are sometimes referred to as interpersonal skills or people skills.  Soft skills are the attitudes and behaviors that determine how we are in the workplace and how we interact with others.

How candidates with advanced soft skills enrich the workplace

Candidates with highly developed soft skills can improve productivity and communication, which can have a ripple effect department, or even companywide. Candidates whose soft skills have been vetted can help ease the worker’s fit into the company culture, not to mention that they can help diversify the organization.

Here are just a few soft skills that can prove invaluable in a candidate:

  1. Communication
  2. Conflict resolution
  3. Creativity
  4. Critical thinking
  5. Dependability
  6. Empathy
  7. Flexibility
  8. Problem-solving

Candidates who are adept with communication, conflict resolution, and problem-solving help others address concerns and issues. Candidates who possess advanced creative and critical thinking skills can help you find unexpected solutions to problems. Meanwhile, workers who are empathetic and flexible can get along well with others and can even make the workplace a fun place to be.

There are plenty of soft skills that a candidate can translate into workplace success, so it is worth it to take the time to figure out what kind of soft skills best fit the positions you are seeking to fill.

How to hire for soft skills

It’s certainly easy to ask applicants to possess soft skills, but ensuring that they have the soft skills that you need is a different matter. Ideally, candidates will address the skills they have in their resumes and cover letters or be prepared to tell you about instances in their professional experience where they exemplified a particular soft skill.

However, no one is going to apply to your open position with information that puts them in a bad light. To learn what soft skills a candidate has, you have to study them during the candidate experience and interview process carefully.

For example, a candidate who is patient but persistent during the application process illustrates that they are flexible and professional, just as a candidate who shows up for their interview prepared and on time shows dependability and punctuality.

During the interview, a candidate who maintains eye contact and addresses everyone in the interview equally shows active listening and practical communication skills. When asked to tell you a story about a time they exemplified a particular soft skill, they should be able to do so in a way that illustrates that they understand the importance of the skill you are asking about. For example, when asked to tell you about a time they needed to be creative to solve a problem, they should be able to explain how creativity was an asset. If they dismiss the concept entirely, they may be missing the point of how a soft skill can be vital to their work.

Hiring for the ideal blend of soft skills for your needs takes a considerable investment of time, which can be discouraging to many. However, since soft skills are essential to success in just about any position you will need to fill, it is worthwhile to take the time to figure out what you need, and to hire the candidates who possess and practice the soft skills you need.

Not sure how to determine what soft skills will take your organization to the next level?
Contact BRIX recruiting today! We have the experience, as well as highly developed soft skills of our own, to get you on the path to hiring candidates with the right blend of hard and soft skills.