With the way technology advances, there aren’t too many “hard” skills that will look the same or have the same value in 30 years as they do today. Think about the role of a secretary 30 years ago. That role barely exists today. For sure, that person’s computer skills have extremely changed.
Imagine if that secretary didn’t have the ability to adapt and grow with the times and changes in technology, the leadership and the organisation. They would be out of a job. If they had solid problem-solving skills, resiliency, communication ability and the willingness to learn, they may be in a specialised role in a different function by now.
While hard skills are technically what you’re hiring for, it’s soft skills that will determine how well your new hire will do and how far they’ll go. You can easily identify candidates with the right hard skills by filtering out resumes and contacting references. But when it comes to the interview process, you’re going to want to look for some key soft skills. You’ll need to ensure your candidate is not only a good fit for today, but for the future as well.
Example Interview Question: Can you talk about a time when you helped resolve a conflict at work?
Navigating tough situations with co-workers, managers, customers or other stakeholders is part of the job. To succeed in resolving conflict, you need to not take things personally and have a results-based mindset. Also, you need to be willing to understand and empathise with the other person.
Example Interview Question: If your manager weren’t available and a decision needed to be made, how would you handle the situation?
A new employee definitely should adopt a watch-and-learn posture at the beginning of their time with your organisation. Eventually, they should start taking ownership including knowing how their role functions in the overall workings of your company. In most organisations, people shouldn’t have to step too far outside their lanes. Yet, it’s reasonable to expect things to continue running smoothly even if a manager has to step out for a day or two or longer.
Example Interview Question: Describe a time you failed at something at work. What did you learn from the situation?
Resiliency is arguably the most important soft skill. It’s what allows people to learn, grow and adapt. You want a team of people who can bounce back from adversity and grow from the experience. A person who can openly and honestly face their challenging, embarrassing, most vulnerable moments and take responsibility for themselves is a good person to have on your team.
Example Interview Question: How do you stay organised at work?
In this fast-paced world with changes around every corner, the last thing you want to have to do is micromanage and handle their exact scheduling. Identify whether the person you’re hiring sees it as their job to sit and wait for work to be handed to them. Will they take a proactive approach to get things done? Give them an example project and ask them to describe how they would get it done.
Example Interview Question: Think of a time at work when you would have done something differently.
Creativity happens in more than just the arts. It happens in day-to-day life, particularly in problem solving. There are going to be plenty of times for each of your employees when something strange or different comes up that there is no rulebook for handling. You want people on your team who can pause and think and come up with creative solutions.
These are only a few of the many soft skills out there. Your hiring practices should lean heavily into seeking soft skills in job candidates. You want to be able to promote leaders from within your team. That starts with hiring for leadership skills.
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