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Prioritizing and Testing for Soft Skills

We have said it before, and we will say it again: Possessing particular soft skills are a crucial part of a good employee. It can be difficult to scan for these soft skills in a phone call or an interview. Having a lengthy conversation with a candidate can only take you so far. How do we properly assess soft skills?

Field Test

Have your serious candidates do a field test or shadow for the day. While some positions may typically require candidates to perform a literal test of their skills (e.g., welding), having them shadow your employee(s) may also benefit your hiring process. Have your employees show them the ropes of how your company functions. See if they adapt, question, seek to learn, etc. Through this, you can assess how well they work with others, how they respond to criticism, and how well they adapt to new ways of doing things.

Previous Experience

Tap into what they have done and how they reacted to situations in previous positions. During the interview, you can ask about dealing with different situations and how the candidate responded. You can also ask them their preferences about collaborating with people, trying new things, and the like. They will give clues about how they work with others and react to challenges. While it can be helpful to specifically ask about their experiences that will highlight their soft skills, take things with a grain of salt. We all try to make ourselves sound flawless/perfectly flawed in interviews.

Online Assessment

Ask your candidates to complete an online strengths assessment! These tests have been around for many years. They can give you a good idea as to what your candidate’s strengths are, as well as where they may fall short. Once a candidate passes the first round of interviews, you will send them the test to complete. You can discuss the results with them in the following interview. Give them the opportunity to speak to how accurately they think it represents them.

Recognizing the right soft skills is key to choosing the right candidate. Now more than ever, we have the tools to test for them. Get out there and fill that role with the best candidate!

 

How To Hire For Soft Skills

It’s easy to list the required experience and certifications in a job description. However, it is much more challenging to define and evaluate the soft skills that would make someone successful in that position. Indeed outlines 11 soft skills other employers were looking for in 2021. Let’s focus on the top 3:

Communication, leadership, and teamwork

These three soft skills are integral to a healthy work environment, no matter the size of your company. Communication benefits both the client and coworkers, even if your employee will not have an outward-facing role. Team members with strong communication skills will streamline business and make your company more put-together and intelligent overall. 

Though it would be ineffective to have a business full of people trying to take charge, it is important to empower your employees. Every person on your team should possess the confidence and creative thinking skills necessary to lead if needed. A team of leaders lifts each other up throughout the week. Make sure they are capable! 

Teamwork is extremely important, even if a company is a one-person show, because you always work with clients. Employees need to have the humility and communication skills to work with others, whether their peers, clients or managers. These soft skills are crucial to running an efficient business.

How to test for them

ASK OPEN-ENDED BEHAVIORAL QUESTIONS! Instead of using the age-old “tell me a story about the time you. . .” prompt, give them a specific scenario that actually happened at your workplace where someone could demonstrate these soft skills and ask them how they would respond. Try to remain as neutral as possible so as not to lead them one way or another. If the candidate has some work experience on their resume that seems to signal the strength of one of these soft skills, ask them to elaborate. How did the experience play out, and did they like it? This can be very telling as to whether the candidate gained the soft skills necessary from that experience.

Though it can be hard to assess a candidate’s soft skills, you can usually get a general feel for what kind of person they are in an interview. Determine what’s most important, then ask in-depth behavioral questions to discover which candidates will be a good fit.

How to Vet Candidates in the Post-Pandemic Job Market

The unemployment rate has slowly been ticking downward as employers continue to rebound from the pandemic. Some industries are thriving, while others are preparing to ramp up their hiring efforts for the spring. But with a job market flooded with job seekers and workers looking to enter into pandemic-proof career paths, hiring managers have a ton of resumes to sift through. Ideally, these new additions to your team will stick around for the long haul and make a significant impact on your team. Thus, assessing a candidate’s fit is essential. If you are struggling to pin down the best talent this year, here is how to vet candidates in the post-pandemic job market.

Use a skills test

With an influx of job applications, utilizing skill assessments will help you identify candidates that will excel in the position. Although hard skills aren’t everything, your hiring team needs to know if a candidate can perform the basic functions of the job. These tests are not new, but they are an excellent method of highlighting each of your open positions’ best applicants. Skill assessments will help you weed out the least suitable candidates and streamline your hiring process. These tests are also helpful at discouraging the applicants that are spamming their resume in the post-pandemic job market.

Culture compatibility is crucial

Identifying candidates with the right skill sets is imperative, but culture compatibility is crucial for long-term success. You can teach almost any employee hard skills, new processes, and other details important for a particular role. However, you cannot train a new employee to fit your team dynamic. Behavioral interview questions can help your hiring team identify the candidates with the energy, passion, and work ethic that will make them successful. These questions will penetrate the surface-level assumptions you can make when initially interviewing candidates; they will also help you look beyond a candidate’s skills. These exercises are even more critical if you have a hybrid workforce with employees working both on-site and remotely.

Partner with a recruiting firm

Hiring suitable candidates for your team is no simple feat, and vetting candidates in the post-pandemic job market is even more challenging. Analyzing a candidate’s hard skills and culture compatibility will be essential moving forward. Although, performing these exercises can be time-consuming and difficult. If you need these job openings filled immediately, consider partnering with an external recruiting firm. The best recruiters will thoroughly vet candidates for their aptitude and fit before their resume even reaches your desk. At JSG, we meticulously vet each of our candidates to ensure they will mesh well with your team and make an immediate impact on your organization. Reach out to us today, and let’s work together to navigate the post-pandemic job market.

Soft Skills with the Most Demand in 2021

Over the last few years, soft skills have been at the forefront of hiring professionals’ minds. Throughout the pandemic, these skills are becoming even more essential. With millions of people working from home and many others transitioning into a new career journey, soft skills are highly sought after. But what are the skills that employers are in the most need of during these challenging, unpredictable times? Here are the soft skills with the most demand in 2021.

Communication and collaboration

Employers are always looking for prospective employees with solid communication skills, but with remote work becoming normalized, communication skills will be in high demand in 2021. Communication skills come in different shapes and sizes – meeting with clients, working with colleagues, and speaking to various stakeholders. With so many different avenues to convey your thoughts (email, phone, video, chat tools, etc.), strong communications skills will be crucial. You must convey your communication skills in your resume and you can expect to be asked questions regarding your communication capabilities.

Adaptability

Adaptability is another soft skill in high demand this year (and beyond). When the pandemic first hit, companies scrambled to stay afloat and keep work operations running. Many people began working from home while others returned to the office with new rules and safety protocols. The workers who stood out from the rest were flexible and adaptable to what was going on around us. Employers are looking for candidates that can roll with the punches and improvise as needed. Whether that’s a sudden adoption of new tools or a unique working environment, adaptability will be key moving forward.

Self-motivation

It’s easier for employers to motivate their teams when everyone is working onsite. However, with millions of people working from home for the foreseeable future, hiring managers are looking for candidates with drive and self-motivation. Employers will be looking for candidates that can illustrate their enthusiasm, know their purpose, and work hard. These hiring professionals are looking for go-getters that have the determination to get work done and step in to help others when needed. Instead of waiting around being asked to work on something, employers want to see you move on to another task or project.

Time Management

Finally, employers are looking for candidates was excellent time management skills. You won’t have your manager breathing down your neck or walking into your office to check in with you. You will be expected to manage your day and efficiently use your time to complete your work assignments. Hiring managers will be looking for job seekers that can manage their working schedules and complete tasks on time. If you are working from home, there are distractions around every corner. It’s up to you to establish a schedule that works for both you and your team.

Are you looking for tips to demonstrate these soft skills?

Now that you know the soft skill with the most demand, it’s time to illustrate them to the hiring manager. You can do this in both your resume and during your interview. If you are looking for some advice on how to show a prospective employer that you possess these four skills, review our job search resources today!

Must-Have Skills in the Post-Pandemic Workplace

As we inch closer to a new year, many job seekers speculate how the workplace will change in the post-pandemic era. With a shift in working environments and job demands will come a new need for specific skill sets. Some of these soft skills were already on the rise before the crises, but three skills will outshine the rest as we move forward. Here are the must-have skills in the post-pandemic workplace.

Self-motivation and direction

With millions of Americans working remotely now (with many making this a permanent transition), managing your motivation and self-direction will be crucial to career success. While working remotely, employees will have to be more self-sufficient with their time management and daily tasks. You may not have the luxury of your manager right around the corner in your office to keep you in check; you must be in control of your career by ensuring your work is done efficiently and within time constraints.

Essentially, workers will have much more independence. This will be a more significant challenge for more entry-level workers and young professionals just starting their careers. Honing self-motivation and direction will be a must-have skill in the post-pandemic workplace.

Communication management

Communication has and always will be an essential soft skill for workers to refine. But with many of us working from home for the foreseeable future, clear communication will be even more critical. It’s much easier to communicate with co-workers and teammates when you are all in the same office. If you have a quick question, you can walk down the hall and receive an immediate answer. However, we may not have that luxury in our current (and future) workplace.

Instead, we will have to adopt more tools and processes to communicate with each other actively. That can be easier said than done with dozens of different tools. For example, you may be chatting with your boss on Microsoft Teams but need to refer to an email or notes on a Google Doc as you work. If you want to continue to be a valuable employee, you must facilitate clear communication management in the post-pandemic workplace.

Adaptability

Adaptability is vital to any successful career in the post-pandemic workplace. Tomorrow may look different than today, and this year will look different than the next. It’s essential that employees can roll with the punches and adapt as needed.

Adaptability comes into play in all facets of work – how we communicate, the tools we utilize, processes, and so much more. Adaptability is about being able to function when you are a little uncomfortable. Taking on new roles as needed or stepping in to solve a problem will set up apart from your co-workers and other candidates when you are searching for new opportunities.

How To Improve Your Soft Skills During Quarantine

If you are like so many other professionals throughout North America, you probably have found yourself with some extra time on your hands lately. As such, it is the perfect opportunity to beef up your resume and add some in-demand soft skills to your repertoire. Today we’re covering the five most in-demand soft skills in 2020 and how you can develop and nurture them during this time of growth.

Creativity

When all of this is over, you can almost be certain that employers will ask how you spent your free time during quarantine. Make sure you have a great answer! Get in touch with your creative side, whether or not it’s “professional” or not is up to you! Consider taking a course in Photoshop, or engineer a creative marble course with your kids. Expressing your creativity will tap into previously uncovered soft skills and widen your horizon.

Persuasion

You may already be working on this skill more than you think. Have you convinced yourself to resist the temptation of the “Are you still watching?” prompt on Netflix? Have you argued with your kid about finishing their online schoolwork? There you have it; you’re an expert in persuasion. Professionally, consider creating a plan for yourself and what you want out of your career during this time. That way, in the future, you’ll have a clear guide of your desired direction and the steps it will take to get there.

Collaboration

Believe it or not, isolation is a great time to work on your social skills. Take this opportunity to expand your virtual professional network. Post frequently on social media sites, follow companies you admire, and craft custom connection requests to leaders and peers in your industry. With stay at home orders in place throughout the world, people are craving connection and will be more willing to collaborate than ever before.

Adaptability

Of all the soft skills, adaptability is arguably the most important. And COVID-19 wielded unbelievable power in forcing the whole world to adapt at once. Almost every single person throughout the globe has been affected. Whether you were laid off, forced to work from home, or suddenly found yourself overhauling your day-to-day procedures to ensure the utmost safety, you most certainly showed adaptability during this time.

Emotional Intelligence

There has truly never been a better time to work on your emotional intelligence. Empathy is a necessary skill in today’s climate, so look around you for opportunities to act with compassion and respect. If you take a step back from almost any obstacle you witness or face, you’ll be able to better assess the big picture.

Soft skills are an important part of your resume and what you bring to the table as an employee. If you are lacking in any of these five areas, take this time filled with so much unknown as an opportunity for growth.

How to Overhaul Your Resume for 2020

The labor market has been tight all year, and with a current 50-year low unemployment rate, the state of the market doesn’t look to be changing in 2020. If you’re interested in taking advantage of this candidate-driven market, here are three ways to overhaul your resume before 2020.

Quantify your accomplishments

To stand out to recruiters and hiring managers, you must quantify your resume. Instead of just listing out your job duties, add numbers to beef it up. Which sounds better to you?

· Improved engagement and followers on corporate social media platforms

OR

· Improved engagement on our company’s LinkedIn page by 73% and increased our number of followers on Twitter by 208% over the last six months

Anytime you can quantify your accomplishments, do so. You will make a better impression on those reading your resume and sell yourself as an A-level candidate.

Illustrate your soft skills

Soft skills are becoming more and more important for hiring managers. You can teach almost anyone how to use a new computer program or learn how to utilize a new tool in the workplace. However, you cannot teach someone a soft skill. Including soft skills can really set you apart from your competition and show that you are teachable and ready to learn. Here are three of the best top skills to display on your resume.

Forget the one-page myth

Many job seekers still believe that your resume must be trimmed down to one page. However, that’s only true is you are fresh out of school with little experience, and you’re applying for your first job. Don’t be afraid to go beyond the first page. We look at thousands of resumes each week, and the best ones are typically over one page. If you are well into your career and have numerous awards, certificates, or degrees, you will more than likely need more than one page to display all of your greatness. So, don’t fall for this myth; I encourage you to go past the first page if you need more room for those hard-earned qualifications!

If you follow these three tips to overhaul your resume, you’ll be ready to start your job search off on the right foot! And if you’re looking for a job before the end of the year, we have hundreds of great opportunities on our job board. Check them out here!

The Top Soft Skills You Need on Your Resume

There’s been a lot of buzz about soft skills over the last couple of years. Employers are starting to pay more attention to them as it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find strong candidates in today’s market. Candidates with some of the hard skills hiring managers are looking for may not be available in this tight market. Thus, illustrating soft skills on your resume will help you stand out to employers.

Here are the top three soft skills and an example of how to demonstrate them in your resume.

Leadership

Even if the role you are applying for isn’t a leadership role, it’s essential to show examples of your leadership skills throughout your resume. Hiring managers want candidates that know how to take initiative, make tough decisions, and when necessary, navigate difficult situations. Showing off your leadership skills can also make you look attractive if this role has advancement where these skills will come in handy one day.

Example:

“Mentored my project management team on how to successfully adopt and utilize our new project scheduling software.”

Communication

Hiring managers are always looking through a resume to find candidates who possess great communication skills. And no, that doesn’t necessarily mean public speaking experience. Hiring managers want to ensure their next employee can clearly and effectively communicate with stakeholders, team members, and customers. Strong communication skills translate into excellent listening skills, attention to detail, and so many other desirable soft skills.

Example:

“Facilitated conversations between senior leadership and the quality control team to ensure everyone involved in our project was on the same page and aware of any potential quality issues.”

Adaptability

Adaptability is a soft skill that will be a HUGE asset to any team. Hiring managers want to find employees that are flexible and capable of successfully performing under changing environments. Just like in life, things happen in the workplace, and hiring managers want employees who can “roll with the punches.” This is especially true in fast-paced working environments when you have to think on your feet and adjust as challenges surface.

Example:

“Quickly learned how to proficiently use Adobe InDesign to help our marketing team develop brochures for our annual board meeting.”

Don’t Forget This Prep Before Your Next Interview

interview

You submitted your resume and cover letter and were fortunate enough to secure an interview. You’ve actively been performing due diligence, trying to get a feel for what it’s like to work there. You’ve selected the perfect outfit, and are practicing responses to commonly asked questions you’ve found online. While these are essential in your preparedness for your interview, many candidates forget these preparation steps that make them stand out from the competition.

Soften Up

Your hard skills are likely what moved you from the resume to the interview stage. But now that you’re here, your soft skills and character will also play a part in the hiring decision. Soft skills are a mixture of your social, people, and communication skills that, combined with your personality traits, allow you to understand an environment and work well with those around you.

A recent survey of over 5,000 talent professionals reveals that 91% felt that soft skills will be important to the future of the workplace. Soft skills topped this list that also included work flexibility (72%) and anti-harassment (71%). 45% of those interviewed indicated that bad hires often lacked soft skills, with another 44% claiming it was a lack of a combination of soft and hard skills. As you can tell from these numbers, employers want to hire people who have soft skills. So how do you showcase yours and what can you do to prepare this information?

Tell Your Story (Then Prove It)

Leading up to the interview, practice is key. While researching common interview questions can be helpful, it’s key to practice talking about yourself because it’s harder than you think. Make a list of your top three to five soft skills. They should be clear and specific, as you aren’t hinting at being adaptable, you are telling them you are adaptable. While apprehension is common because this can feel like bragging, it is exactly what this time has been allotted for. This is your chance to talk about yourself, rather than counting on the hiring manager to connect the dots on their own once the interview has concluded.

Now that you’ve shared your soft skills, you need to back it up. Words mean nothing without evidence. A statement about being adaptable will be much more powerful with proof behind it. So, make sure to back this claim up with a quick but relevant example. Try to showcase a situation when you demonstrated the soft skills discussed.

Sticking with the adaptability example, one could share a story about taking on more responsibility in a previous role. Just be prepared to explain any example you give. The best way to ensure that your story proves your point is to practice ahead of time.

Sealing the Deal with a Thank-You Note

thank you note

So, you have just returned from a job interview, and you feel it went exceptionally well. Time to sit back and wait for someone to call with an offer, right? Wrong, your job isn’t quite done yet! You need to take advantage of this opportunity to further their belief that you are the best fit for this position or company. How can you do this post-interview though? A simple thank-you note can work wonders when it comes to creating a lasting impression. Don’t believe us? One in five interviewers completely dismiss candidates that don’t send a thank-you note or email. So, when you craft yours, make sure it encompasses the following:

Highlight Yourself

This does not mean you should pen a note bluntly stating, “I am the best.” A thank-you note is not another chance to pitch yourself. Instead, it’s a subtle opportunity to reiterate what you learned during the interview process and how you will make an impact in this role. Convey gratitude for the interviewer’s time and make a meaningful connection between yourself and the company.

It’s Timely

While sending a thank-you note is important, timing is key. The whole purpose of this note is to reinforce the idea that you are the best person this company could hire. However, chances are, you are one of many individuals vying for this job. To avoid becoming lost amongst a crowded pool of candidates, send a thank-you note an hour or two following your interview. Why so soon? Because following most interviews, everyone who was present often discusses you and your interview. That thank-you note elevates this conversation, reiterates why you are the best choice, and displays promptness.

Showoff those Soft Skills

There’s no doubt that hiring managers care about your hard skills. Often, they are what gets you from the resume stage into an actual interview. However, soft skills are not to be overlooked! While an employer could teach you things like how to use their CRM software, certain personality traits like critical thinking are challenging to learn. Employers look for hard workers; candidates who fit their company culture and provide value to a team. Your thank-you note is just another opportunity to showcase your soft skills and prove you will be a positive addition to their team!