October 24, 2019
Training and Development 02 January 2017
Top 3 Soft Skills to Look for in Candidates
Gisel Malek
soft skills, behavioral skills

It’s a new year and you’re looking for new team members! Soft skills have never been so important and talked about. It’s time to focus on what really matters and hone in your efforts to find the most capable person for the job. 

Seems easier said than done, right? What if you tried refocusing your efforts on some skills that say a lot but are not heavily focused on? Soft skills are the key to your team’s success!

Many schools are starting to catch on here, finally! Among arithmetic and reading and writing, soft skills that show how capable an individual is are being taught and included in curriculums across the globe. This is amazing news! Without the proper skill sets to communicate the technical skills candidates have, they will be grossly overlooked. 

Check out some of the most important soft skills to look for as you hire:

Emotional Intelligence

So, what is emotional intelligence? Is it an intelligent person who knows how to handle him/herself in front of others? Is it someone that is highly emotional? This could be a confusing thing for a hiring manager to focus on when all they really want is to hire someone who will fit the bill.

The important part of selecting someone with a really high level of emotional intelligence is that it’s a great indication that someone will be able to be self-motivated. Emotional intelligence suggests identifying one’s own emotions as well as those of others.

 Now, there is no easy way to test for this unless you spend ample time with a candidate on a project or an in-depth challenge, but those who possess this quality will not only be able to adapt to new environments and excel but understand how to create that environment for others as well. People with high levels of emotional intelligence make the best team players!

Willingness to Learn

Education does not end with a diploma, anymore. Every occupation and career will require their employees to constantly be learning new things. Adding skills is part of the job now. As more and more iGens are moving into the workforce, it is false to assume that everyone in that age bracket is willing to learn new things.

 It’s common for businesses to assume that the younger one is, the easier it would be to pass on knowledge because they will grasp it faster. That is not always the case. A willingness to learn comes from having the right attitude and from creating conditions allowing motivated people to excelHow do you determine if someone is willing to learn? It would be hard to assume that you can understand this much about a person through a resume or over the phone. Putting a candidate in a team to complete a project can really help you determine if the candidate is 

A) Showing initiative to complete the project using all of their resources, 

B) Communicating anything he/she does not understand 

C) Resourceful and able to solve problems.


Delegating tasks is important in the new year as more and more small to midsized companies are meshing roles and creating new ones that require teams to be cross-trained and knowledgeable in different areas. 

When I say delegation, I don’t just mean assigning work to people, I mean assigning the RIGHT work to the RIGHT people. Part of what makes any team more cohesive is understanding what your individual role is and what other people do so that when you assign work it makes sense to the person that it is assigned to.

You don’t want a pastry chef in charge of getting a steak medium-rare, do you? That would be a pretty risky task. If someone comes up to you with a question, you may be tempted to answer it and be the hero. Well, if you get it wrong, you are not only NOT the hero, but you are seen less as you were before. 

It's understandable that you will not have all the answers right away, especially if you are learning a variety of different things in your new role. Asking questions and not being afraid to organize yourself well enough to know what you should and should not be doing according to your career pathway, is going to be very beneficial to you.

There is nothing wrong with saying: “that’s a great question, let me put you in front of the right person to best answer that question.” This way you are seen as someone who is able to get people what they need and that is just as important.

Behavioral skills tell you a lot about whether an employee is going to be able to stick around or not, so this year, make sure you look for the right things.

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