A lot of people, after going on many dates, still can’t decide whether they want to be in a relationship with the person or not.
And yet, in hiring people, (which is also a kind of relationship), we are expected to make the decision after just one interview.
Ideally, we should go on several “dates” first before making the professional commitment. But in the competitive world of business, each day a role is not filled is a day losing ground to the competition.
So in this post, we talk about how to find out quickly if a candidate is right for your business or not.
Skill or Attitude?
We have known, for over a century, that soft skills (attitude) trump hard skills (technical expertise). A study from Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center found that 85% of job success comes from having well-developed soft skills, while only 15% comes from technical skills or hard skills.
“Soft skills” refer to things like communication skills, a strong work ethic, teamwork/collaboration, and problem-solving skills.
If we look at LinkedIn’s “The Most In-Demand Skills for 2023,” the top skills employers are looking for are soft in nature.
So while both technical expertise and soft skills are important, if forced to pick one or the other, soft skills seem to win the day.
Don’t Leave Home Without Them: The 5 C’s
There are a whole lot of “soft skills” that you can be looking for in a new hire. But we have distilled them to 5 C’s. These 5 have come up over and over again in the list of the most desirable values in a professional:
Communication—Being able to articulate ideas clearly, listen actively, and motivate others to action is a premium skill in the workplace. With great communication skills, an individual is able to build relationships with colleagues and clients.
Collaboration—The person who can harness collective effort and can work well with others is a prized member of your team. Jobs are so complex, and competition so stiff, that no individual can make it alone. A whole team is needed to innovate and compete successfully in the market of ideas. An individual who has the good sense to work well with others is priceless.
Commitment—They are loyal, dedicated, and reliable. There’s no question that you should be looking for this soft skill in your next hire. Commitment leads to consistency, and later, to excellence. An organization that stands out from the pack is usually composed of committed professionals who go above and beyond expectations.
Creativity—This individual solves problems, drives progress, and opens your organization to a world of possibilities. With their fresh ideas and novel perspectives, they make your business perpetually competitive. Creative individuals spur new products and find unique solutions. You need creative individuals to make your business relevant in this rapidly evolving world.
Compassion—They offer support and encouragement to others. At work, things don’t always work as planned. Or maybe people are just struggling with the other parts of their lives. A compassionate person who lifts others up is a hire worth his weight in gold.
How To Uncover Them Quickly
Candidates can game the hiring process. They can fudge resumes, fib at interviews, and therefore fool our best instincts.
The only way to know that our guys have the right mix of “soft skills” is to put them in situations where these skills are required.
This would entail looking at the hiring process through a different lens. If we’re hiring for “soft skills,” we don’t see these skills displayed in a written exam or a quick interview—much less from a resume or a CV.
You find out who the swimmers are when you throw them into the water—not when they’re walking on dry land.
So test your candidates on real projects that require them to work with others. Give them a taste of what it’s like to work in your company. Instead of coming in for a 30-minute interview, let them roll up their sleeves and ask them to sit in meetings and contribute to discussions.
Or take them to a team-building activity where he or she meets the people he or she will be working with. That way also, you get feedback from the rest of your team. And they’ll feel like they’ve been part of the decision. (They wouldn’t be weirded out on a Monday morning when somebody they’ve never seen before is announced to be part of the team.)
This is obviously a different route to hiring. It requires opening your meetings and discussions to people who are not yet officially part of the team. Plus, unlike just looking at a resume and doing a short interview, you’re seeing more of the candidate, so there are a whole lot more factors and nuances to think about.
So, as it turns out, our “quick” way of hiring actually takes more time. But in the end, it’s an effective way to find out if a candidate is really the right one for us. (Just like dating!)
When Do Hard Skills Become More Important Than Soft Skills?
However, there are instances when hard skills become more important. We don’t want to overly romanticize soft skills and totally ignore hard, technical, know-how and expertise.
Generally, there are 3 instances when hard skills are given extra weight:
#1 When the skill is highly specialized and experts are hard to come by.
Sometimes, in very niched technical roles like a spanking new programming language with very few coders or a highly technical software development position, that one skill is enough to get folks the job. The employer has very few options and so the candidate has leverage.
#2 When it is a short-term project.
Short-term projects have significantly increased this decade. The labour landscape is becoming more of a gig economy where freelancers hawk their skills to different organizations, for a limited time. And so, commitment, (one of the soft skills mentioned earlier), is limited. Soft skills won’t matter so much when the project might be over in 3 days, and you would never hear from the individual ever again. In this case, we look at the deliverables—if the talent is able to do the job.
#3 When filling the role is very urgent.
Sometimes, time is the overriding factor, and organizations need to fill the role as quickly as possible. It might mean serious revenue loss for the company if the role remains vacant. So companies get into emergency mode and are just so happy that someone has technically qualified for the role.
With all that being said, the most ideal candidate then, for any company or organization, is someone who has a mix of both hard skills and soft skills.
That is our driving mantra at Kinetic Innovative Staffing. We don’t sacrifice one for the other but always look for both.
We help companies around the world find remote workers—ones with the talent, skill, and EQ to work well with others.
(Hiring remote workers is a great strategy because, on average, remote employees bring 70% savings on labour costs.)
And with our database of over 4 million professionals—from software programmers, network engineers, and data analysts, to customer service associates and virtual assistants—we can find suitable talent for every niche and role.
Say, if your company is looking for a draftsman, Kinetic has a catalogue of Rockstar Draftsmen ready to take on the role. (Click on this link and we’ll send you the full vetted list.)
If you’re looking to fill other positions, get in touch with us or book a call, we’ll take you step by step and help you land your next hire.
Kinetic Innovative Staffing has been providing hundreds of companies in the Asia Pacific, North America, the Middle East, and Europe with professionals working remotely from the Philippines since 2013. Get in touch to know more.