3 Tips for Hiring for Soft Skills

More and more recruiters and hiring managers are beginning to see that soft skills are having a bigger impact on employee success than hard skills.  Hard skills are the technical knowledge needed in your field, such as a chef having proper knife techniques. Soft skills, like teamwork, problem-solving, and critical thinking, are harder to test for. However, these will ultimately be the determining factors of employee success.

This isn’t to say that a programmer shouldn’t know how to write JavaScript when you hire them, of course. But it is important to take into account a more holistic view of employees beyond their technical qualifications.  Especially when it comes to younger workers who may have less experience on the job, testing for that elusive “culture fit” could be a big differentiator.

Currently, employers are struggling to find talent that has the necessary soft skills to fill their roles.  According to a recent Wall Street Journal survey, although 92% of employers consider soft skills as important and technical skills, 89% of these same executives also report being unable to find hires with these skills.

Candidates with the technical know-how, along with these soft skills are out there.  Here are 3 ways you can alter your recruitment process to find the perfect candidates to grow your team.

1. Utilise Personality Tests

With AI entering the recruiting industry in recent years, personality tests are becoming a good way to measure culture fit and certain soft skills.  These automated tests allow the employer to select the features that matter most to the position.

The AI system then generates questions that will be able to measure the candidates aptitude and scores them on these criteria. Companies like upcoming Clockwork Recruitment are using cutting-edge technology to test for soft skills.  While the AI that supports platforms like InstaHire and TalentCloud test for hard skills.  These two powerful technologies used in tandem will enable employers to hone in on those “mama bear” candidates who have the best of both.

2. Try out Recruiting Games

Owiwi recruiting game
   Owiwi Recruiting Game

Most people play videos games, especially among younger demographics. Gamification of the recruitment process is a good way to make it fun for the applicant, while also providing insight into the way they think and problem-solve.  Games like the Greek start-up Owiwi’s tool, can help employers determine the personality traits their potential new hire has.  It is able to rank players on accountability, teamwork, and decision making to name a few.  Other games, like those by Arctic Shores, require the candidate to inflate a balloon as much as possible without popping it. This tests risk-taking willingness, which can be either highly desirable or undesirable, depending on the industry and position in question.

3. Hire Learners

Hire people who have an aptitude for learning, who are quick to adapt and desire acquiring new skills.  Especially among younger workers, having a workplace that invests in upskilling its workers is key to retention.  With technology and practices changing so rapidly in today’s work environments, you need sharp and flexible workers who can take initiative and acquire new skills when needed.

Further, given the overall difficulty in finding employees with the right set of soft skills, keeping the training venue open for hard skills will allow you to train learners in the more technical aspects of their jobs. Naturally, the employees will still need some baseline knowledge, but those lacking years of experience can easily learn.  Keep an open mind and invest in upskilling rather than expecting a new hire to have all the skills you need and all the industry knowledge already.  These practices will also show investment in your workforce, which will lower turnover and ultimately benefit your bottom line.

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