Candidate Screening: Decrypting your candidate’s real skills
Published on October 31st, 2022
A strut, a confident smile, and a strong gaze. Here comes the candidate you have been waiting for with the splendorous suit, radiant smile, and know-it-all kinda flair that they toned down to earn your good graces. This candidate managed to catch your attention right from the time they sent their resume.
Although everything points towards a definite yes, somewhere you feel that you are not prepared to gauge this person properly. You do realize that mishires could throw your reputation down the mud. So, what now? Is there a guide? A reference? Well, my friend, fortunately, we have created this little checklist exclusively for your benefit.
The first thing is to see if the walk goes with the talk, with this star candidate of yours, and for this, you need to gauge the skills using a skill assessment. You can take the help of a skill assessment platform like HireQuotient if you wish as well. If you need to figure out how to pick the right skill assessment platform, this will help. Skill assessments are one of the integral parts of the whole AI toolkit. In fact, 6% of businesses claimed to use AI for recruiting extensively while 24% stated that they planned to use AI for recruiting in the upcoming two years. (HR.com)
Now that we got that out of the way, the next step is to assess the soft skills of your star candidate. For this, we need to keep a few core characteristics in mind and after this, you need to develop a few telepathic capabilities (at least that’s the level of confidence you should have when asking the set of questions to understand your candidate inside out).
1. Personal drive: Swords raised?
A quick search on self-motivation would give you something like, ”The internal drive to accomplish goals, produce results, grow, and continue going forward. Self-motivation is what propels a person to push ahead even if they are tempted to give up or simply don't know where to begin.” In the workspace, there are employees who work long hours for less pay, and this is sometimes used by employers to describe this trait. However, that is not the focus of this ability (needless to say, you should always pay people a living wage and avoid overworking them). Self-motivation is the ability to enjoy what you do enough to want to perform well whether or not there is an external incentive. This would encourage them to take ownership of tasks and produce fruitful results. When assessing soft skills this is one of the basic characteristics that any candidate should possess.
Being good at communicating doesn't require you to have a great vocabulary or become super intelligent and eloquent (although this helps). You must be able to express yourself succinctly, whether orally or in writing, and understand what others are trying to say. Problems with this can have a significant negative influence on work performance. In fact, misinterpreting or misrepresenting what is said could impact the product, and even the morale of the team they are assigned to work for.
3. Culture match
Every organization defines "cultural fit" differently, changing over time. It is much more important to find someone who embraces the workplace culture, from the open-plan design to the dress code, than it is to simply choose someone you want to have lunch or an after-work drink with. It's even possible for a culture fit to vary amongst teams. It's a good idea to have a discussion with your team members about what constitutes a cultural fit for your team and to focus on particular characteristics or values.
4. Team player
Most occupations involve some degree of teamwork, and occasionally they also involve managing others. Even jobs that are sometimes perceived as being solitary, like accounting or software development, may include a significant amount of input from other people. Therefore, alphas are more than welcome as long as he sticks to the pack and does not play the role of the lone-wolf.
5. A desire to learn
It gets tiresome to hear this but lifelong learning is essential especially since organizations and systems change and new technology and information are constantly being developed. Anyone who doesn't learn runs the risk of falling behind, regardless of position or background. A successful employee must have the ability and enthusiasm to learn new things, both for their professional and personal development as well as to acquire new hard skills. One of the traits of a competent employee or candidate that is connected to a willingness to learn is what adaptability is all about.
Be curious. Use data. Leverage imagination. Be an expert. Be an enthusiast. Be authentic. Know your competition.
– Jim Stroud
The questions you should not miss out on when a assessing the soft skills of a candidate
Of course, the best way to understand these core qualities is by challenging them with a few questions. They might be prepared as well to give you the answers but, no matter how well-put their answers are, you will still be able to spot the cracks and crevices in their argument. Start off assessing the soft skills of your candidates with the help of these basic sets of questions, keep improving them, and appropriate them to your requirements.
To test a person's capacity to work under pressure, ask them to describe a circumstance that is distressing to them. What's the worst that may happen, and how did they manage to handle it?
To find out if they are driven to succeed at work, casually drop this question as a part of your conversation, "Tell me about a time when you had to walk the extra mile to complete a task?"
To gauge their capacity for juggling work and personal obligations, you can ask a question that somewhat goes like this: "We've all experienced times in our life when we had to be called away from work for personal reasons (such as a sick child, a family emergency, etc.) - how did you handle this?"
Use the same questions during both an in-person interview and a pre-screening phone interview to look for embellishments. The wide range of potential answers could surprise you. Why did you leave your previous work, for instance? In-person interviews frequently result in answers that are significantly less glorious and more honest.
To ascertain their preferred management approach, ask, "If you were given the opportunity to manage in your previous job, what would you have changed?" This inquiry can reveal what people liked and despised about a former boss.
To find out more about the corporate culture they prefer, ask, "Tell me about the best position you've ever had, and why it was great?" This can offer hints as to what they appreciated about a company, the job, the workplace, and their employer.
To gauge their level of interest in the position: "Tell me about your ideal position—your "dream job." What aspects of your upcoming role are crucial to you? To determine how well they comprehend the position and how much they desire it, compare their description to the task at hand. During the initial phone interview, when candidates may not have the job description in front of them to consider, this question should also be put to them.
This is a great starting point for you to gauge your candidates better. Yes, it's not exactly anywhere close to telepathic capabilities, but deriving a candidate’s potential through conversation is also a skill that can be developed. And, just like how mastery of any skill takes time and patience, there has to be a starting point, a few bumps on the road that could land you on your back, and the occasional urge to quit, but slowly and eventually, you reach a level of perfection that could place you as an invaluable asset to your company.
P.S. How about we tell you a way to get half the work done in less than half the time hiring a candidate usually takes? This includes a certain part of the soft skills we spoke about as well! Get on a 15-minute call with our specialists and we, at HireQuotient, will create the most optimized skill-based assessments and video-based assessments of the roles you intend to fill in. We’re sure you can become the best at assessing down the line, but since you are starting off there is nothing wrong in taking some help.
Radhika Sarraf is a content specialist and a woman of many passions who currently works at HireQuotient, a leading recruitment SaaS company. She is a versatile writer with experience in creating compelling articles, blogs, social media posts, and marketing collaterals.
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