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Why Employees with Soft Skills Are in High Demand

Cutthroat employees make for cutthroat business. While it is sometimes good to be intense about work, being too intense can sometimes prove to be more trouble than it’s worth and affect both the quality of the work being done as well as the working environment itself.

People with soft skills, on the other hand, are drama averse. They are collaborative rather than competitive, and tend to focus on outcomes rather than the need to be recognized for individual contributions. If the success of your business relies on teamwork, you will want to pay special attention to learning how to recruit people with these valuable qualities. Here are a few tips and considerations.

Real Life Consequences of Tension in the Workplace Can Be Counterproductive

Soft skills are interpersonal skills that are not job-specific and are transferable to a wide variety of situations. These skills include a strong work ethic, a desire to solve problems, self-confidence, a positive attitude, time management abilities, critical thinking, communication, the ability to learn from constructive criticism, flexibility, sociability, and being able to listen.

These skills are not taught in a classroom, nor are they easily quantifiable. They are either intuitive or learned through experience, as opposed to hard skills that are measured by degrees and certificates, but are proving to be just as valuable as skills picked up in a class.

Behavioral and Situational Questions Are a Must for the Interview Process

Open-ended questions based on the candidate’s work experience allow them the opportunity to explain a difficult event and how they handled it. This approach, known as STAR (Situation-Task-Action-Result), yields behavioral responses, providing insight on how the candidate perceived the situation (Situation), what they thought would be an effective remedy (Task), the application of the remedy (Action), and the consequence of the application (Result).

Asking the candidate how they handled an unexpected situation at a previous job, or how they communicated with a difficult colleague are examples of behavioral questions. These will open the door to follow up questions that can delve deeper into the range of soft skills the candidate has used previously.

Situational questions are hypothetical, giving the interviewer the chance to tailor questions applicable to their company. Asking how they would handle losing a team member and still meeting the project deadline, or how they would deal with a demanding customer, will get you closest to making the best hire possible. An interviewer with knowledge of specific company challenges can reframe them as hypothetical questions and see how the candidate responds.

A person with well-honed soft skills is essential in many complex situations, including direct reports who are senior to the manager, and those with highly technical skills who make more money than the person to whom they are reporting.

Teams with Strong Soft Skills Drive Results

Hiring people with the desire to achieve company objectives by working successfully with other team members is a strategic goal for all businesses. Through careful assessment of how your team has functioned in the past and what it needs to operate at an optimum level, you will be able to find candidates with both the required hard skills and desired soft skills for a harmonious and productive work environment.

Michael Trueba, CCIM is a vice president for Vantage West Credit Union, a $1.9 billion financial institution which serves a growing membership of nearly 150,000 via branches across Arizona and online channels, as well. Vantage West offers consumer and business banking services, and is federally insured by NCUA. VantageWest.org

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