Sourcing Soft Skills
It’s easy to ask for certain skills when advertising an open role, but how do you make sure people actually have them? When responding to job postings, candidates should address the soft skills you’re seeking by including examples in their cover letters and resumes.
Do they highlight instances of collaboration, or do they present themselves as unique super geniuses? If they highlight team spirit, that’s a good sign. If you ask for learning agility, do they highlight recent classes or certifications?
Here’s where cover letters can be especially interesting. Not everybody includes them these days, but they can still be useful as applicants have to describe what it is about the job that aligns with them as a person.
Of course, nobody is going to reply to your job ad stating that they hate people and are totally unreliable. To really drill into soft skills, you have to wait for the interview. There is good news to waiting though – You can assess soft skills without directly addressing them. For instance …
- Arriving on time shows punctuality and dependability.
- Maintaining eye contact and asking good questions show active listening.
- Telling stories that correlate to job requirements shows effective communication.
- Giving due credit to team members shows integrity.
Of course, you should always check references — and don’t just ask for references from managers. Former coworkers may be more likely to focus on their colleagues’ soft skills. So ask candidates for both types of references.
Hiring for the right blend of soft skills takes a measured approach. It also requires an investment of time, which is a precious resource for all of us. But since soft skills are so crucial to success in any role, it’s unquestionably worth taking the time to get it right.