It is important to find out as much as possible about a new employee prior to hiring them.
This individual will be joining your team, working day in and day out with you and the rest of your staff.
All employers verify a potential candidate’s hard skills, such as a diploma from university, experience in the field, typing speed, knowledge of a foreign language, etc.
However, soft skills, which are personality traits such as empathy, a strong work ethic, respect, communication, and desire to help others, are not possible to quantify.
While you can test a new employee to calculate their typing speed, you can’t test them for empathy.
However, there are ways to evaluate an individual’s soft skills during the interview process, which we will share in this article.
Are They A Team Player?
One of the most important soft skills a candidate needs to possess is the ability to be a team player.
In an office, colleagues spend most of the days in close quarters, sharing responsibilities and working together for a common purpose.
If a new employee is not able to be a productive team member because they slack off, blame others for their mistakes, or want to take all the credit, this attitude will create major problems and disrupt workflow.
This is why it is imperative for employers to evaluate how a new candidate may do as a team player.
A good strategy is to ask candidates about their past experience working in a team, and gauge the answers.
Asking questions such as: “Do you prefer to work with others or alone?” and “Can you recount an experience where you worked in a group to get something done?” will give you valuable insight into a person’s mind.
If they simply talk themselves up and minimises the role of the others in the story, that is a good sign that this candidate may not be a good team player.
Do They Have A Strong Work Ethic?
Hiring a staff who has a strong work ethic is important to the success of your department.
While you as the manager will be there to oversee and motivate each employee, they should be a self-starter and motivate themselves to work hard to meet and exceed professional milestones.
To evaluate a candidate’s work ethic, it is wise to check references and speak to past employers who can give you great insight into the person’s attitude and behaviour at previous jobs.
Furthermore, asking questions such as “What are your priorities in life?” and “How do you approach a situation where you are facing a large workload and are overwhelmed?” will help you understand the candidate’s view towards work.
You want someone who mentions work as a top priority, and who answers that when overwhelmed at work, they will ask for help, but will not stop until the job is done right.
Don’t just focus on evaluating hard skills when considering hiring a new employee.
Ask questions to check their soft skills, and consider how they will fit in as a new member of your existing team.
Head of Training and Development
Originally published: 29 April, 2016
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