10 Tips for Putting Soft Skills at the Heart of Hiring

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It’s all very well to say ‘Put soft skills at the heart of your hiring process’ but sometimes people need a little help knowing what to do and where to start. Here are my 10 top tips to help you really make a success of using soft skills analytics in your hiring process:

1. Take the time to really think about what kind of personality you need

What kind of personality, skills and person do you need? This helps you know what to look for and the candidates to know if they should apply or not. Some organisations have hundreds of people applying for just one job, but the job descriptions can be so bad that lots of those people aren’t right. Then hours are wasted sifting through CVs and running tests, all because someone didn’t set the right profile at the beginning of the process.

2. Highlight those soft skills when designing the job description and advert

Make it clear what you are looking for. Ensure candidates can see what kind of personality is needed and what competencies are needed. Try to oming empty phrases such as “great team worker” If you copy the job description from the competition on a job board – rethink point 1.

3. Don’t just look at the here and now, in terms of skills

Look at a person’s potential – do they have the right soft skills (good motivation, initiative and communication skills, for example) so that they can grow into a role? Are you hiring for potential and attitude?

4. Think about how the candidate will fit, personality wise, with the rest of the team

Do they fit well to their future manager? Will they make a good cultural fit in the organisation? These are important questions and if you have three great candidates, how they will fit in with their colleagues and boss could be the deciding factor. A good screening software helps you here.

5. Really look at the candidates

Don’t just look at what you want and need. Always keep in mind that there’s a person on the other side. Employer branding is so critical these days and making sure candidates have a good experience, whether they get the job or not, is an important part of that.

6. Be more human than resources

Technology should allow you to have more time to devote to what is most precious and important, so have systems in place that help you to focus on the human stuff, rather than just processes. HR has become far too process driven – onboarding people, processing CVs, etc. Let systems do this because they actually do it better than humans can. Then HR can focus on the human side of HR instead. We still need quality interviews, for example.

7. Make interviewing people who are not a good fit something of the past

With softfactors, you should only be interviewing people who are a good fit. And good fit means not only skills, education and experience but also the right personality, competencies, motivational drives, etc. At softfactors, we have found that a soft skills pre-screening and assessings reduces the amount of time spent interviewing by 50% or more.

8. Give candidates feedback about their fit early

It is part of ensuring there is a good candidate experience. With softfactors testing, candidates receive near instantaneous online feedback about how the test went. Especially younger applicants (not only generation Y – but also) are expecting a direct, immediate and personized feedback.

9. Combine data with gut feeling at interview

Don’t rely on just one, but both together – data and gut feeling. At the end of the day, it’s a person to person thing. And an interview is often a shining performance for one or two hours (on both sides) so using data for your interview helps you detect and read a person – along with your great interview skills.

10. Use the information you have gathered for onboarding and development

Don’t let it just go to waste once the hiring decision is made. People development can start with hiring. The software highlights a person’s gaps, their strengths and weaknesses. This enables organisations to formulate development plans for new hires at the very beginning of the employer-employee journey. Onboarding starts with pre-screening and people development too: that is why we developed softfactors.


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