January 4, 2023

The rule of thumb for hiring managers and HR professionals is to always hire the most qualified person for a job opening.


And while that’s still true, companies that can spot high-potential, but underqualified applicants can gain a serious competitive advantage.


To be clear, there’s a difference between unqualified and underqualified. An unqualified candidate won’t be the right fit no matter what. On the other hand, someone with great experience – but perhaps missing a certain preferred skill – could still be the right hire.


As a hiring manager or HR professional, you can read a candidate’s experience on their resume. But don’t stop there. Look for the intangible qualities that influence how well a candidate can communicate and solve problems. Those abilities – typically known as soft skills – are important components when finding the right person for your opening.


While hard skills are teachable, it’s the inherent soft skills that can often mean the difference between success and failure in a hire. Here are examples of some of the most important soft skills to consider when recruiting candidates


Determine their Work Ethic


This soft skill is high on every employer’s list – and top performers have a strong work ethic and a determination to achieve targets. This can be difficult skill to assess but should be apparent from the candidate’s achievements and confirmed by reference checks.


How do they Communicate?


The importance of communication skills should never be underestimated. Communication means being able to articulate well, and exhibit listening skills. Unlike writing aptitude, which is seen as a hard skill, the ability to understand and be understood, coupled with the willingness to listen can lead to a successful new-hire.


Are They a Team Player?


Take a look at most resumes and they focus on individual achievements. But the majority of roles call for a team player – someone able to collaborate. To learn more about potential collaboration skills, ask candidates about group projects they’ve taken part in either as a leader or in a support role. And don’t forget to ask about teamwork when carrying out reference checks.


What About Motivation?


The best hires are often self-starters who are able to work with minimal supervision. Motivation is a difficult one to measure but a resume that reflects a varied and active life outside of the working environment is a good indicator of someone who’s curious and more likely to be self-motivated.


Look for Creativity


Creativity is one of the most sought after skills since it usually means the candidate has innovative ideas and problem-solving abilities. It’s also an innate, rather than a teachable, skill. Competency based questions that highlight creative thinking, innovation, and problem solving should be part of the interview process.

The Importance of Flexibility


Creativity is often accompanied by flexibility. Candidates with this skill can think outside the box and look for ways to get around problems. They possess the ability to adapt to change and challenges rather than remain on a fixed path or be mired in a temporary setback.


Inter-Connect is a free permanent, temporary and temp-to-hire placement service agency that partners with companies throughout the Illinois, Missouri and Iowa Tri-State region. As staffing experts, we partner with our job candidates to connect them with the right opportunities to meet their career goals. To learn more, contact us today.



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