Wednesday, 16 July 2014

How to evaluate candidates' soft skills

Be careful , hard skills and technical know-how : You've got competitors . According to a new Career survey , the vast majority ( 77 percent ) of employers think about soft skills just as important as hard skills with regards to evaluating candidates for a job , and 16 percent even say they're more essential . 

What are soft skills ? As my colleague pointed out lately , soft skills typically describe "communication , authority , critical thinking , creativity , collaboration , team skills , relationship management and a lengthy list of other so-called intangible qualities ." Though they are hard to measure quantitatively , soft skills remain a desired trait and recognized business differentiator among employers . 

Maybe the heavy focus on soft skills has to do with the point that employers have been unable to find candidates with the difficult skills they need ( particularly when it comes to technological knowledge skills and big data competencies ) . Many employers have even reported that they've started specializing in cultural fit and potential over skills , figuring they can train them on-the-job with the critical hard skills . 

According to the survey of more than 2 ,000 hiring supervisors nationwide , the top ten most popular soft skills organizations 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

Evaluating soft competencies : The one particular type of interview question you should ask 
Whether or not through pre-employment testing or throughout the interview process , using behavioral interview questions is one of the most reliable ways to evaluate a candidate's soft skills . Behavioral interview queries are those that focus on real-life experience the candidate has had , as opposed to hypotheticals . For instance , instead of asking , "What could you do if . . . ?" ask "Tell me about a time when . . ." or "Give me a good example of . . ." 

There are two major causes behavioral interview questions work : An individual , past behavior is a better predictor of coming future success on the job than prospective behavior , according to workforce management expert Nancy Newell , as it helps predict future achievements on the job by looking into past behavior ; two , when they hear queries shaped around potential behavior , candidates will probably say what they think you want to listen to . 

By asking for real-life good examples , you'll get more insight into candidates' delicate skills , such as how well they work under pressure , how they connect and their work ethic . Some other examples of behavioral job interview questions include : 

Describe a time when you had any trouble with a supervisor and what you actually did to solve it . 
Provide me an example of how you dealt with a very tense situation at work . 
Inform me about a time when you had problems getting others to act together on a critical problem and how you handled it . 
Tell me about the best market leader you have interacted with , why you felt this way , and also what you learned from that person . 
Explain a problem you faced that was almost challenging and how you got through it . 
Bear in mind , of course , that these questions are not full-proof -- there is absolutely no "magic bullet" when it comes to hiring , however , behavioral employment interview questions are your best bet for finding employees with the soft skills your organization gives importance to most .

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