When hiring a new employee, you’re often focused on finding employees with the technical skills to perform the job well. However, it’s important for employers to remember that technical skills aren’t everything. In fact, a better indicator of a great employee is actually their soft skills—or their personality.
Think about it: it’s typically easier to teach Microsoft Excel than it is to teach someone how to communicate in the workplace. Soft skills often can’t be taught as easily, which is why they’re so critical to finding employees that will be a great long-term fit. As a result, look out for candidates with these five soft skills:
One of the most important qualities to find in a candidate is critical thinking. A person’s ability to identify, analyze, and solve problems on their own is an invaluable asset to your organization. Without a critical thinker, a lot of the problem-solving required may fall to you. As a result, determine this trait with questions like, “What’s a challenge you’ve faced in the workplace, and how did you overcome it?”
For a great long-term fit within a company, finding employees who take initiative can make or break your team. While lower-level, task-driven roles may not require as much drive, leadership roles require someone who can set a goal and go after it. To evaluate a candidate’s initiative, ask a question like, “What was the last new skill you learned, and how did you go about it?”
Communication is the foundation of every workplace. If someone cannot communicate effectively, it is very unlikely that they will be successful in their role—and they will most likely impact the performance of others as well. As a result, be sure that you carefully observe how potential employees communicate with you. In addition to evaluating their communication throughout the hiring process, ask questions like, “Have you ever had a conflict with another employee at work? How did you resolve it?”
To find an employee who can work autonomously and doesn’t need hand-holding, time management is a crucial skill that must not be overlooked. Employees who understand how to prioritize, organize their tasks, and work smarter are likely employees who don’t need several reminders or deadlines. As a result, you can get an understanding of how a candidate manages their time by asking a question like, “How do you plan your work week?”
In addition to excelling in all these areas, humility is an undeniable quality in a great hire. The best employees will always be on the road to self-improvement, and to do so, they need to understand what needs to be improved. As a result, to identify someone who takes responsibility for their actions, ask a question like, “What is a weakness in your skillset, and how have you worked to improve?”