Soft Skills Paramount in Hiring Process - Bill Bonnstetter

by Rainmaker

We are very honored to have this guest post from Bill Bonnstetter. He is chairman of Target Training International, Ltd. and is considered one of the pioneers in the assessment industry because of his significant contributions to the research and study of human behavior. He was the first to computerize the DISC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Compliant) assessment, making reports available via his patented Internet Delivery Service® (IDS) . He was also the first to produce a computerized values assessment based on Eduard Spranger’s personality model. He is the author of If I Knew Then, and The Universal Language DISC, which has sold more than 30,000 copies and is now in its sixth edition, as well as articles for the Harvard Business Review.

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Soft Skills Paramount in Hiring Process

Your CEO tells you, the hiring manager, to find a new sales manager. You start pulling resumes and scheduling interviews. One person has ample experience. Another graduated top of her class. One of them worked for a competitor and knows the industry inside and out. But, which one of them has a great sense of urgency? Which one has high resiliency to bounce back from a set back or has the best attention to detail?

These competencies are almost never measured during the hiring process, but they often end up being the most important in any organization. Soft skills are different than hard, or technical, skills. Hard skills measure a person’s knowledge and technical ability to perform job-related tasks. Soft skills are the set of traits garnered through experiences such as accountability for others, conceptual thinking, customer focus and decision-making.

Soft skills complement hard skills and enhance people’s interactions and job performance. At TTI, our assessments measure 25 job-related soft skills because we know the importance of considering these competencies while job matching.

In two studies, one of sales people and one of employees in various fields, our research indicated every superior performer in industries across the board possessed at least 17 of the 25 measured soft skills. This finding illustrates how important it is to master skills in all parts of life, particularly when it comes to finding perfect job fit.

If people are hired that have not mastered the soft skills the job calls for, it will likely result in poor communication, low productivity and high turnover.  Identifying which skills are required for each position and matching personal talent to the job accordingly is paramount to finding superior performers. 

Your Role as an Employer

Research over the last decade has continued to show the importance of including soft skills evaluation in the selection process. College graduates in the last several years have shown a huge increase in interpersonal skills and teamwork. They are more social and more communicative than ever.

As these grads are hired, managers need to both recognize this and to accommodate this generation’s needs within the workplace. New hires cannot be stuck in a corner with little personal interaction throughout the day. They need an environment that will allow them to talk and influence others.

If managers do not accommodate the work styles of the younger workforce, businesses could suffer from high turnover, low productivity and low employee morale.

Corporate America is fighting the notion soft skills are an integral part of hiring. In reality soft skills are just as important, if not more so than experience and education, particularly in the selection of superior performers. If soft skills are considered in hiring, managers can expect high performance quicker and can expect to see an increase in workplace happiness and productivity.

Your Role as an Employee

If your employer asked you today what your soft skills were, would you be able to identify them? Since these skills are developed slowly over time, many people can’t put their finger on which soft skills they’ve mastered and which need more work.

It’s imperative to identify and clarify your soft skills so you can tell your current employer what skills you have already mastered and which you would like to develop within that job so your talents can be fully utilized and you can assert your value to the organization.

This will help your communication with your manager and coworkers and will also allow you to grow and be happier within your current role.

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