It’s easy to differentiate between hard and soft skills. The former are those that can be learned formally and are measurable. For instance, if your organization needs an IT professional, the skills required would include hardware & network maintenance and software troubleshooting.
On the other hand, soft skills are personal traits overlooked in the past but now considered essential in any job. A common one we find in many job advertisements is “good communication skills.” This can be easily observed during the interview.
But, other soft skills such as creativity, adaptability, and teamwork are not readily apparent although, they are mentioned in many resumes. So here’s how soft skills can be detected with alternative methods that have worked in many companies.
Step 1: Identify Required Skills
The first step is determining which soft skills are required in your organization. Ask your H.R. manager and even your executives what soft skills are necessary for success. Don’t forget to consult with your most productive colleagues too. And of course, you have ideas of your own.
Each job requires a set of both hard and soft skills. Keep in mind that soft skills are as necessary as technical skills today.
Step 2: Use Online Tests
There are online tools that can assess the soft skills of job candidates. Resumes and traditional interviews are insufficient when figuring out the skill set of applicants. Toggl Hire, Koru and Psychometrics are examples of these. There are more and some can be custom-made for your
These tests can be used for pre-screening purposes or after interviews. An objective analysis of your job candidates’ answers will help you figure out who is the best person for the job.
Step 3: Avoid Unstructured and Standard Interviews
Most applicants today are prepared for interviews. They are ready for questions like “Why are you the best person for the job?” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Also, research about your organization can reveal a lot of what you value and interviewees can give answers
you’d like to hear. They can, on occasion, remind you of yourself which can lead you to prematurely view them favorably.
Be ready for the interview. Make an outline of what to ask. Take time to study the resumes and online test results, if any. If you only do so during the interview itself, you’ll miss asking the essential questions.
Step 4: Ask the Right Questions
Applicants can be good actors if they practice well enough. Mix in questions that will help you understand an applicant’s way of thinking, attitude, and reaction to different situations. Here are examples that will assist you in figuring out the soft skills of your applicants.
- Which is more important to you – Getting the job done or making it perfect?
- If you see dishonesty at work, what would you do?
- Which would you choose first, a pay raise, or a promotion without a raise?
- If your life was made into a movie, would it be a comedy, drama, or a suspense thriller?
- Would you finish a task at the office beyond closing time or bring it home to complete it?
As you consistently ask questions candidates are unprepared for, you will discover their real character and the soft skills they possess. By the way, in case you’re wondering, the examples above help you determine an applicant’s work ethic, motivation, and creativity.
Step 5: Contact Job References
You can find out more about job candidates if you contact their references. Ask specific rather than general questions. If a reference states that a candidate is an excellent team player, don’t stop there. Inquire for instances when the candidate has exhibited such behavior.
Persons who refer candidates are a source of information too. They can verify the existence of soft skills possessed by applicants. Again, ask for specific instances when soft skills were evident.
To Wrap Up
There is no surefire way of assessing a person’s soft skills unless you have first-hand information. The best approach now is to modify your recruitment process. Revise your interview questions and employ new methods such as online tests.
The above steps will assist you in finding the right candidate who possesses the hard and soft skills you seek. Try these and in time, you will find the appropriate recruitment strategy for your organization.