Maintaining a high level of talent throughout an organization is key to both day-to-day success and being able to grow toward long-term goals. So often, we think of recruiting and selection as a necessary evil to fill positions with competent placeholders. This can create a bit of a revolving door with employees coming and going and leaving the function of the position confused with the lack of any continuity. Hiring solely based on the core responsibilities of the position can also lead to issues down the road when the organization may change the structure and ask existing candidates to go above and beyond to meet new demands. It is important to hire based on both technical qualifications as well as intangible characteristics to ensure the organization has a diverse pool of talents to work with. According to a 2018 LinkedIn survey, approximately 60% of leaders agree that soft skills are of greater value than hard skills. The individual strengths of candidates that can’t be listed on a resume are especially important when deciding between two fairly equally qualified candidates.
Having a collaborative team is essential even when it may seem that everyone may not work directly with each other. Being a cohesive unit means more than just being responsive over email and meeting group deadlines. Effectively working together can sometimes entail being willing to ask if there’s any additional work that needs attention or offering to work alongside a teammate to complete a task that may not be strictly a listed responsibility. Find out as much as possible about how a candidate has worked on teams in the past. Not only in a leadership role but being engaged in the gritty details. Ask candidates about their preferred communication style and see how open they are to reaching out to others without being asked. Finding employees that work to support each other is critical for both objective success and keeping company morale high.
Working efficiently can sometimes be considered a hard skill but can affect more than just an employee’s attendance and productivity. Having a strong sense of time management is more than just working quickly, it can sometimes mean slowing down to ensure the quality of work. Often, when a candidate is asked to describe their schedule, they resort to answering with “as quickly as possible”. Try asking them how they check their work or prioritize certain projects over others. Even asking about how they handle their personal interests outside of work can provide insight on how much care they put into their activities as opposed to simply trying to speed through them.
Noticing a significant amount of change in position on an employee’s resume can be considered a cause for concern that they are not specialized in one area. However, in today’s rapidly changing workforce, being willing to explore new functions to best support an organization is an asset to most potential employers. Learning about a candidate’s trajectory within other organizations outside of the specific tasks of the position at hand can provide a more broad picture of the individual as an employee with potential as opposed to simply a fit for a position. Being able to adapt to new responsibilities quickly is imperative to any organization’s success, especially in times of growth or high stress.
Scouring through resumes and candidate profiles can be difficult at times. Having a technically sound, collaborative, and adaptive workforce may require extra effort in the selection process but can save time in having to go through multiple hirings and training. Remember to hire more than just someone who works “on paper”; hire an individual that you consider to be a long-term valuable asset.