Season 7| Episode 2

Halloween Special: Soft Skills

89% of employees get fired for soft skills or lack thereof. 

We hire for “hard” skills, but what about basic people skills or common sense? What about skills like the ability to be a team player? In this Halloween special, Kirk and David dive into the importance of soft skills and explore how recruiters can learn about a candidate’s proficiencies in this area. 

What Are Some of the Most Important Soft Skills? 

Kirk cited communication and the ability to think outside the box as a couple of the biggest soft skills. 

“It really is what you bring, your whole self every day. It’s great that you can work a tennis racket or hatch out of an egg and take down the bad guys, but at the end of the day being able to work as a team and communicate effectively and to showcase things that make you different. Those differences bring everyone together.” 

David  speculated on whether the legendary tennis player John McEnroe would have been a great team player or employee.

So on paper, John McEnroe is unbelievably accomplished, you know, eight grand slam championships…but during the way, he was yelling at linespeople, challenging the chair umpire’s decision making, as part of a team, his soft skills would not go a long ways. He would need to be in a very specific work environment where teamwork doesn’t necessarily matter as much. That’s not the case for most positions and companies in the modern world.” 

What Would We Learn from Yoshi’s Resume?  

“On paper, Yoshi’s resume would simply be “defeated bowser so many times.” Well, that doesn’t tell me how you got there, what you did to get there, it just tells me you defeated bowser every time. So it’s good to know beyond the paper what is inside of someone, what they can bring to the table to bring everyone together.” 

“You Can’t Put Work Ethic on Paper”

Kirk had a great point about how we can’t glean anything about an individual’s work ethic from their resume.  

“Just because you worked at one job for 30 years, or 40 jobs in ten years, that doesn’t tell me if you’re a hard worker, if you have the follow through on the work, if you’re going to give 120% or if you’re going to give me 80%, I can’t read that on paper. To exude that is another signal to an employer that they have a win. They have a soft skill win.” 

“Tell Me About a Time…”

David brought up how culture fit is a big component here. Even if an employee does a great job at one organization, their style or idea of success may not fit for another company. We have to closely examine whether a candidate will be a good fit for the company and team’s goals. 

So I think it’s really important to ask the question – tell me about a time you worked as a team and disagreed with somebody. What was the final result of the project, and how did you either compromise with somebody, or how was the decision made to move forward with the project in that capacity? They have to first of all choose that scenario, what happened, and then walk you through their thought process on dealing with the other person and whether they made an effort to compromise…or what if they didn’t. And that kind of tells you how collaborative they’re going to be.” 

Kirk concurred and talked about how it’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing too much on the resume. 

“When you are the hiring manager, you often find yourself defaulting to what’s on a resume. I do think it’s important and imperative that the hiring managers come to the table with the right questions to draw out the soft skills. You can see some of that communication if you get people talking or not talking. But I think we focus so much on just “do they check the boxes” as opposed to just the silent things that they bring to the table.” 

Need more real talk in your life?

You know what to do 😉 →

About Recruiter Fuel

Recruiter Fuel is a weekly video series dedicated to all-things recruiting and talent acquisition. Learn More our mission and how you can submit a topic, be featured in an episode, or nominate an expert to guest star on an upcoming episode.

Visit the Recruiter Fuel series directory for more content.