Why Soft Skills are the New Hard Skills
Work is evolving – and hiring practices too. The new key success factors are soft skills like emotional intelligence, empathy, kindness, integrity, optimism, self-motivation, adaptability, resilience and grit.
Why Soft Skills?
As jobs become more automated, what’s left that humans can do better than machines? Soft skills. The things that make us human. Deloitte predicts that soft-skill-intensive jobs will make up ⅔ of all roles by 2030.
Empathy and Emotional Intelligence
Surprisingly, empathy is one of the most lucrative skills an employee can have. Someone who understands and cares about their colleagues’ and customers’ feelings will boost your bottom line. Try asking interviewees what charities or causes they’re involved with to get a sense of their levels of empathy.
Emotional intelligence will also bring a competitive advantage to your teams. Ask interviewees to tell you about a time they worked with someone who was difficult to get on with, and how they handled those interactions. If they were able to turn the situation into a win, that’s emotional intelligence.
Integrity and Ethical Responsibility
Billionaire Warren Buffett says integrity is the no.1 trait to look for in new hires. Again, surprisingly, that means candidates with integrity will make you money.
A worker with integrity takes responsibility for their mistakes, gives credit for others’ successes, and respects others’ time. Integrity is even more critical in the fast-paced world of today, where it’s tempting to cut corners. Ask your receptionists or admin assistants how candidates treat them (including over email) to find out their true character.
Encourage workers to fess up to mistakes, and start by doing the same yourself. You can find candidates who take responsibility for mistakes by asking them to tell a story about something that went wrong and how they resolved it.
Adaptability and Resilience
With today’s overwhelmingly fast pace of change, you need people who can adapt equally fast. Ask candidates, "What was the most stressful situation you’ve ever handled, and how did it turn out?" Look for candidates who’ve taken on different responsibilities and roles, or who worked part-time while putting themselves through university.
Self-Motivation and Self-Direction
Self-motivated people can take ownership and initiative, set their own goals, and take steps to achieve them. They need less management from you, which is vital in a constantly changing world. Ask your potential hires about a time when they set a goal for themselves and what they did to achieve it.