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Hiring with Soft Skills in Mind

S.common skills It’s a problem for employers.write to harvard business review Last year, Harvard Business School’s Rafaela Sadan and co-authors analyzed nearly 5,000 job descriptions written by headhunter Russell Reynolds for various companies. C.Their research showed that companies are shifting from focusing on financial and operational skills to social skills, the ability to listen, ponder, communicate and empathize. Other studies have come to similar conclusions for lower-paying jobs. This means that being able to work well with people is seen as an important quality rather than a fluffy bonus.

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The problem is that soft skills are difficult to measure. To make matters worse, traditional processes for hiring people are often better at spotting other qualities. In the early stages of recruitment, we focus on filtering candidates based on their experience and advanced skills. This is because these criteria are the easiest to assess remotely.Include the words ‘team player’ in your cover letter or message resume It is proof of nothing but unoriginality. Laughing a lot for the camera to shoot a video message mainly shows that you can laugh a lot for the camera. Self-reported empathy questionnaires can sometimes appear to test species-level traits (If you agree with the statement “Emergencies make me anxious and restless”, congratulations, you’re human). .

In the later stages of hiring, candidates and employers actually meet and talk to each other, which is good for assessing a candidate’s softer skills. But still, consider how fundamentally anti-social this situation is. Candidates are expected to speak, not listen. Not to empathize, but to impress. Companies have been praised for asking interviewees such clever Fermi-like questions as, “How many piano tuners are there in Guangdong?” or “How many cinnamon swirls does it take to fill the Capitol?” A structured interview script allows comparisons of similarities, but also squeezes space for spontaneity . No wonder Sudden and others believe the hiring process needs to be improved to showcase social skills.

Research finds some shortcuts to identifying softer skills. His two recent studies on what makes a good team member converge on what might be termed the ability to read the field. They also suggest a way to test this property.

A study by Xu Yu of Rice University and co-authors found that people who can determine exactly which team member is exerting influence have a magical power called “situational acuity.” It has been found. Such room leaders reduce conflicts within the group and improve team performance. As part of the study, they devised a test in which participants watched a video of a group performing a task. Participants then rated group members based on how well each member was respected. Those whose ratings were closest to the team members’ own ratings had the quality of correctness to the situation.

In another study, Ben Weidman and David Deming of Harvard University also found that certain individuals consistently outperformed group performance more than expected. Such people, they argued, are true team players and can make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.These wonderful creatures never stood out above the rest IQ Or a personality test. But they did significantly better on the “read your mind with your eyes” test, a standardized assessment in which participants were shown pictures of various facial expressions and chose the words that best described each person’s emotions. .

Better tests aren’t the only way to elicit more information about your social skills. It’s nice to see how the applicant gets along with various colleagues, rather than just having people up the food chain ask questions at the interview. From assistants who make appointments to receptionists on the day of the event, ask the people who casually interact with applicants what they think. Find out what the candidate really cares about the job. Many studies suggest that humility is associated with better performance.

Hiring for soft skills introduces new risks. These are more flexible than technical skills, which can make it easier for people to fake the process. There may also be more room for the interviewer’s bias to come in. Annoying someone can indicate that the person lacks social skills. But it can also mean they’re nervous, you’re grumpy, or you two aren’t all that alike. Recruitment contents will be changed. it won’t be easy.

Read more from business and work columnist Bartleby:
A Brief Guide to Corporate Ceremonies (May 4th)
If enough people think you’re a bad boss, you’re a bad boss (April 23rd)
What would be a great perk in the office? (April 20)

Related Article: How the Bartleby Column Works got that name

https://www.economist.com/business/2023/05/11/how-to-recruit-with-softer-skills-in-mind Hiring with Soft Skills in Mind

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