What is important to you when you consider employing an applicant? You may want people who are experienced and possess the technical skills needed for the position, but how much thought do you give to other kinds of skills that are more qualitative and difficult to evaluate? Those soft skills that may come across as resume filler can be just as important to how well your office runs as related work experience alone. It can be a challenge, but determining a job candidate’s social skills may be the key to finding a good employee fit.
What Are Social Skills?
Some business advisors throw around popular keywords such as ïteam player,ï ïinterpersonal skills,ï and ïstrong work ethicï as social skills that a potential employee should have in order to be successful. They include compassion, discipline, introspection, and knowledge of relationships. Being able to understand and relate to co-workers, to have tact, to interpret body language, and to compromise are also important abilities that can affect work interactions. As a business person, you should determine which of these types of skills are significant in your workplace and try to find candidates who possess talents that matter to you.
Why Do They Matter?
While you need employees that have the knowledge and experience to perform work, you also need people that can interact well with coworkers. If you’ve ever had a difficult employee, you know how much of your time can be consumed with dealing with problems involving that individual. Some studies indicate that up to as much as 80 percent of a manager’s time is spent addressing employee issues. Taking up precious work time with conflict resolution limits your ability to grow and develop your business. An employee is who is dishonest and confrontational or has a negative attitude can affect morale for your entire staff. Difficult coworkers can even create high turnover if your good people decide the work environment is too hostile or unpleasant. A job candidate’s social skills may have a bigger impact on your business than you realize.
How Can You Tell?
Technical skills are pretty straightforward, but how do you measure soft skills? One of the easiest ways is through the interview process. Note how an applicant interacts with your support staff as well as how he or she behaves during the meeting. Ask questions beyond information that can be found in a resume, such as have they had a mentor or how would they resolve conflicts with coworkers. If you have the opportunity for a second interview, think about bringing in other members of your team for a group discussion. Some businesses prefer to conduct personality testing using reputable standardized methods to determine how a potential employee may react or behave in different circumstances. Don’t forget checking references. By speaking with former employers, you may learn of any potential problems or interaction styles that may influence your decision. Taking the time to appraise a job candidate’s social skills during the interview process can potentially prevent you from personnel issues after the hire.
Which Is More Important?
If your work environment requires employees to perform independently with very little interaction, interpersonal and other soft skills may not be as important to you. In the majority of workplaces, however, personnel must work directly with other staff, clients, patients, or the general public. Each interaction is a reflection of your company’s work ethic, and you want all of them to be positive. An employee represents your business, so consider what impression your staff may make. Technical skills are obviously important; you wouldn’t hire an actor to be a pharmacist. If those necessary related abilities haven’t already been mastered, you may be able to train a worker to get them up to speed. Other interactive abilities are much more intrinsic and generally cannot be taught, so knowing a job candidate’s social skills may help you determine who gets the job offer.
Where Do You Go Now?
Employers should realize there is more to a good employee than just technical knowledge or extensive work history. By getting to know your applicants better before you make a job offer, you will have a clearer picture of the individual that wants to be part of your team. If you have concerns, you should address them and decide if you are satisfied with the answers you receive. If you want to understand better how a job candidate’s social skills can impact your workplace, take a look at Mighty Recruiter for more information and resources.