J Patrick + Associates Blog

How to find Candidates with the People Skills you need

Posted by Nicholas Stearns on Wed, Sep 14, 2016 @ 11:47 AM

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Everyone wants to hire a Rock Star, aka the perfect candidate. You’re looking for skills, experience and depth of training. But there’s another quality that makes someone stand out, and that’s their ability to communicate.

So here are a few tips on how to improve your ability to find and hire candidates with great people skills.

Awesome Descriptions Drive Traffic

Designing a killer job description is the first way that you’ll start attracting talent with strong intrapersonal skills. Be certain to highlight specifically what people skills you’re looking for. Do you need someone to be customer facing? Someone who can deal with complaints well? Or just someone who can work well in the office? Identifying exactly what you require and being clear about it will help attract the brightest candidates..

Resumes With Meat

While a resume helps you find people with the necessary technical skills, it cannot necessarily tell you how proficient a candidate is with people. A resume that touts “good communication skills” isn’t a specific description of the candidate’s soft skills. So, start by looking for specific examples of their ability. Has the candidate headed up a team? Do they cite specific customer facing projects supported by metrics and data? Someone writing “skilled at dealing with a wide variety of people” indicates they’re aware of their ability to work with multiple types of personalities.

Interview (Should) = Reality

The best way to see how a candidate  communicates is to communicate with them. If they say they’re experienced in dealing with difficult customers, look to test that. Stage a mock sales call in which the customer gets angry or confrontational.

Also observe how they communicate with others in your office. Are they able to easily communicate or do they falter and stumble? This is also a good way to see if the candidate, and their communication style, is a good fit with your organizational culture.

Willingness to Argue

As counterproductive as it sounds, someone who is able to argue effectively can be a great employee to put in front of customers. They can represent your company even in the most difficult settings.Candidates who show they can handle tough situations, and work to defuse even the most tense situation, are the people you want representing your company.

Give them hypothetical arguments to make. Have candidates defend a previous decisions they made in another organization. Point out to them some hypothetical flaws. Ask them what argument they would make if you told them you didn’t think them a fit for the job. How they handle the stress tells you how they’ll handle it in the field.  

Not all Follow Ups are Created Equal

Every candidate should, of course, follow up after an interview. But if you're looking for people skills, look for those who include personal or especially specific information. Do they remember every person they met, from all levels in the company? Doing so is indicative of someone who is detailed oriented, and knows how to make an impression.

People skills are what makes the difference between a competent candidate, and a real rock star. There may be plenty of qualified people out there who meet your technical qualifications, but it’s the great communicator who will help move your business to the next level.

 

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Tags: HR and Hiring, Career Strategies, Career Path