Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Evaluate candidates' soft skills


As indicated by Career overview survey, the dominant part (77 percent) of managers considers soft skills just as important as hard skills when it comes to evaluating candidates for a job, and 16 percent even say they're more important. 

What exactly are soft skills ? As my coworker pointed out recently , soft skills typically explain "communication , leadership , critical thinking , creativity , collaboration , team skills , relationship management and a long list of other so-called intangible characteristics ." Although they are difficult to measure quantitatively , soft skills continue a sought after trait and recognized business differentiator among employers .

Most likely the heavy focus on soft skills is because of the fact that companies have been being unable to find candidates with the challenging skills they need ( specially when it comes to technology skills and big data expertise ) . Many companies have even disclosed that they've started focusing on cultural fit and potential over expertise , figuring they can train them on-the-job with the necessary hard skills . 

In accordance with the survey of more than 2 ,000 hiring managers nationwide , the top ten most popular soft skills companies say they look for when hiring include :

1.      Strong work ethic

2.      Dependability

3.      Positive attitude

4.      Self-motivation

5.      Team-oriented attitude

6.      Organization; ability to manage multiple priorities

7.      Ability to work well under pressure

8.      Effective communication skills

9.      Flexibility

10.     Confidence

Analyzing soft skills : The one kind of interview question you must ask 
Whether or not through pre-employment assessment or during the job interview procedure , using behavioral employment interview queries is one of the most reliable ways to assess a candidate's soft skills . Behavioral employment interview relevant questions are those that center around real-life experiences the applicant has had , as compared with hypotheticals . For example , rather than asking , "What would you do if . . . ?" ask "Tell me about a time when . . ." or "Give me an example of . . ." 

There are basically two major reasons behavioral job interview questions work : One , past behavior patterns is a better predictor of future success on the job than potential behavior. As it helps predict future success on the job by looking into past behavior ; two , when they hear questions shaped around potential behavior , candidates are more likely to say what they think you want to hear . 

By requesting real-life examples , you'll get more insight into candidates' soft skills , such as how well they work under pressure , how they communicate and their work ethic . Some more examples of behavioral interview questions include : 

Describe a time when you had a problem with the manager and what you did to resolve it . 
Provide me an example of how you handled a very tense situation in the office . 
Tell me about a moment when you had difficulty getting other people to work together on a critical problem and how you handled it . 
Tell me about the best leader you have worked with , why you felt this way , and what you learned from that person . 
Describe a problem you faced that was almost overwhelming and how you got through it .

Keep in mind, of course, that these questions are not full-proof -- there is no "magic bullet" when it comes to hiring, however, behavioral interview questions are your best bet for finding employees with the soft skills your organization values most.

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