CPS HR Consulting

How to Effectively Assess Soft Skills During Recruitment

Woman shaking a hand during an interview

Employers look for many different qualities in their prospective employees. While some of these skills may be highly specialized, other more general characteristics make for excellent candidates. More than ever, organizations recognize the importance of soft skills in figuring out who will be a great fit.

While technical skills, certifications and training do stand out, soft skills such as communication, a team attitude and an agile mindset matter. They all play crucial parts in improving organizational performance and developing a welcoming culture.

Understanding the Importance of Soft Skills

Soft skills refer to many of the qualities that relate to a prospect’s personality and character. Some specific soft skills include the ability to communicate through speech and/or have a knack for the written word, for example. These skills often indicate how someone works with others in a team format or how they solve problems in daily business transactions.  

Technical skills or hard skills include things like educational background and real-life experience. Soft skills tell more about a person’s ability to work closely and effectively with colleagues and clients. This skill set has become more important as recruiters scan the labor force for top talent.

Soft skills boost job performance and also have a positive impact on employees themselves and the organizations they work for. These traits let employees prosper in the workplace. They promote collaboration with co-workers and customers, making these skills as critical to organizational success as hard skills.

Incorporating Soft Skills Into Job Descriptions and Criteria

HR personnel should take care to highlight soft skills requirements in job descriptions. Clearly defining these skills helps attract well-rounded candidates. These prospects are more likely to mesh with an organization’s culture while performing admirably in their roles.

To target candidates with soft skills, HR professionals must dissect the specific needs of each position within the organization. For instance, you might desire a project manager with strong leadership and problem-solving skills. You may consider an ideal customer service rep as one with empathy and solid spoken and written communication skills.

Utilizing Behavioral Interview Techniques

Employers use behavioral interviewing to understand how a candidate would handle certain situations related to the position they apply for. This method can help assess soft skills since it provides actual examples of how a candidate applies these skills on the fly.

Structuring interview questions in this way can help interviewers determine how effectively a candidate might apply their soft skills when a situation arises. 

For example, an interviewer might ask how the prospective employee once resolved a work disagreement with a fellow employee. Scenarios like these speak to the general and detailed level of a prospect’s soft skills.

Implementing Practical Assessments and Exercises

To get a better feel for a candidate’s soft skills, employers can use practical assessments and exercises. These might involve simulations, case studies, role-playing and other activities that require some deep thought.

These methods let candidates show off their soft skills in scenarios that imitate actual workplace challenges. Under some circumstances, role-playing on the one side of a difficult interaction with a client can help assess a candidate’s reasoning and communication abilities.

Leveraging Technology and Tools

The role of technology in enhancing the assessment of soft skills during recruitment has grown more popular. HR personnel use tools such as applicant tracking systems (ATS), video interviewing platforms and other innovative soft skills assessment tools. These can help quicken days-to-hire metrics and paint a more detailed portrait of a candidate’s soft skills.

These technologies give recruiters a way to organize and analyze candidate information. Time-saving functions such as algorithms can analyze soft skills through candidates’ responses and behaviors during remote interview sessions.

Key Takeaways

Effective recruitment today must consider both hard and soft skills. Employers can meet this objective in several ways:

  • They can define and prioritize soft skills in job descriptions.
  • They can use behavioral interview techniques to get solid examples of soft skills.
  • They can incorporate practical assessments to see those soft skills in action.
  • They can take advantage of modern technology to enhance soft skill assessments.

By deploying these strategies, organizations can more accurately assess potential employees’ abilities to gracefully handle interpersonal and complex workplace situations. This leads to greater success and harmony in the workplace.

Assessing soft skills during the hiring process means more than just filling an open position. It also helps get invested in a fit that will benefit the organization for in future years. For more innovative strategies on employee hiring and retention, check out the expertise that CPS Consulting brings to the table.