Every year, the subject of candidates’ soft skills grows more and more essential for employers recruiting quality employees. Soft skills in general are “personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.” And in the workplace, these soft skills like attitude, effective communication and dependability are becoming equally if not more important than the hard skills.
Recently, Entrepreneur magazine posted an article on the The 10 Unique Soft Skills Employers Desire in New Hires which discusses some of this year’s findings from two different independent employer surveys. Both surveyed employers to learn more about the types of soft skills they wanted. One study, “The Multi-Generational Job Search” found the top attributes were communication skills (83%) and an ability to work as a team (74%). The other study’s top critical employer wants were “a strong work ethic” (73%) and “dependable” candidate (73%).
The most interesting fact—although really not a surprising one— is both surveys listed employers wanting a “positive attitude” in their top three wants. Wow! Is having a positive attitude that important? You betcha! In fact, the subject of the demand for soft skills has been steadily growing for the last decade. Even the US Department of Labor has a list of attributes like “a positive attitude” they actively teach in their “Soft Skills to Pay the Bills — Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success” curriculum.
Most people already know that having a positive attitude is important, but as a job seeker in today’s job market, it’s might be a deal breaker.
So what are some tips to help employers find candidates with a positive attitude? It comes down to these components during the recruiting process:
- Resume Screening: Employers may want to look at job consistency and longevity. If there’s job hopping, find out why. Longevity may look like a positive, but it also may show complacency so probing to gauge positive or negative responses, is the key to understand a candidate’s attitude.
- Interview Process: Leaving positions and job performances are great opener topics to reveal a candidate’s overall attitude. Probing each position and job responsibly methodically can have a candidate reveal small details about themselves. What were their annual reviews for their company? Where than any layoffs? Ask the candidate to describe the last boss in each position. Who was your favorite person to work within the company and why?
- Personality and Behavioral-based questions: These are also important and are most likely different for every hiring manager, but make sure they are updated to be relevant with today’s work climate. Our suggestion is to use your existing behavioral questions and then modify them based on a candidate’s resume. For example, if they are interviewing for a marketing manager position, one question could be, “Can you describe a situation where a deadline wasn’t met?” Perhaps ask them their perspective on social media, and if they believe their social activity online can directly affect the company. Regardless of what you expect to hear in these types of questions, you will often get a truthful answer.
- Referrals: Today, most people know how important referrals are. But when it comes to assessing a person’s character and attitude, it’s probably one of the most important aspects. What type of an impression did a candidate leave with their former boss? Was it a positive one?
Lastly, when it comes to a positive attitude, it’s probably even more important for employers to reflect on their own attitude. Are you projecting a positive one? Bring your own positive attitude when you start searching for candidates, and we guarantee you’ll get even better results.
Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. ~Winston Churchill
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Ingrid Moore
Ingrid Moore is the Founder and CEO of Corporate Resources of Illinois, an employment & staffing agency located in Schaumburg, IL who assists employers with finding the right hire. For more info, follow us on our LinkedIn Company Page, or follow us Corporate Resources of Illinois‘s Google+ page.