When you hire employees, are you thinking about the impact they can make on your business in the long run, or are you just hiring to fill a temporary need? This is an important question that all hiring managers must ask themselves.
Careful hiring is essential as you search for people who share your mindset and propel your company forward. You want to find the right people who can be future leaders and not settle for those who look at this as just a job — because if your workforce is not motivated to succeed, then your business will suffer. Emotional intelligence, a knack for effective communication, and a strong sense of empathy are all necessary elements of a good hire, and the individuals who have those traits can bring your company to the next level.
Emotional Intelligence is Key
If your goal is to hire future leaders who will shape your business in a positive way as the years go by, then you want to find applicants who take the time to think about every major move they make. They need to understand how to deal with others effectively because a leader who does not understand their true self cannot be counted on to put your company first. In short, they have to have emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is a combination of attributes that show strong character in all facets of life, including work. It is about having a self-awareness of your feelings and the feelings of others and handling them in a positive way. One of the reasons that interviewers should always ask about a candidate’s biggest weakness is because someone with emotional intelligence understands their shortcomings so they know what they have to work on and how bettering these shortfalls can improve their work and your business.
Applicants who focus on their emotional intelligence have full control of their feelings so they can better accept constructive criticism and keep cool under pressure. Someone without emotional intelligence can take this criticism the wrong way and get defensive, become overly critical of others, and be passive-aggressive at work. Whether the employee interacts mostly internally or with outside customers, this type of poor communication could turn others away and negatively impact your business.
During the interview process, you can learn more about a candidate’s emotional intelligence by asking about real-life scenarios at past jobs where they found themselves in a tough position and inquire about how the applicant handled the situation. You can also learn a lot by speaking to their references.
Regardless of who the candidate will be speaking with during their daily routine at work, they need to be effective communicators. Active listening is the first step in successful communication. Anyone can respond to a question, but the best communicators listen twice as much as they speak, they don’t interrupt, and they use what they learn to give a well-rounded response. You can start to see an applicant’s active listening skills during the interview.
Active listening is crucial for customer service representatives because it can help them get to the root of a problem, and a business known for its “one-call resolution” type mentality has a better chance of retention than a business that has customers calling multiple times to get to a solution. A customer who thinks it is a hassle to deal with your company will go elsewhere until you spend precious time retraining your employees.
Another key component of communication that you want to see as early as the interview is an applicant who is legitimately interested in what is being said in the form of asking questions. This isn’t to say that you want an employee who asks the same questions repeatedly but asking open-ended questions in an attempt to get a well-rounded solution is key for successful communication.
It is also crucial to hire people who are capable of effective communication in all situations. Public speaking skills are a must because if an employee has a million-dollar idea, but they are afraid to communicate it to those who matter, then your business could lose out on a big opportunity. Written communication is also vital for co-workers and customers. All correspondence must be professional, without spelling errors, and concise but informative. Poorly written communication can give outsiders the impression of an amateur operation.
Required Soft Skills
While you need to find employees with experience in their field, you also want to keep a keen eye out for particular traits that aren’t always easy to spot on a resume. As opposed to hard skills, which include things that can be learned like operating machinery or computer knowledge, soft skills aren’t so easy to teach. These include things like the ability to troubleshoot issues, lead others, and act under pressure. Basically, you are looking for the whole package because, although it is good to have people who take on routine tasks every day, you also want people who you can depend on in out-of-the-box situations.
When times get tough, you want someone with patience and adaptability. Not all operations are black and white, and sometimes critical thinking is necessary so they can turn a negative situation into a positive one. You can get a feeling for whether a candidate has these skills during the interview when you ask about a difficult situation, a time they disagreed with a superior, or a time they thought a process needed improvement, and how they handled these situations. Those in leadership need to be able to think about the future instead of micromanaging, so the ability to trust employees to make the right decisions behind the scenes is critical.
One of the most crucial soft skills to have in an employee is a sense of empathy. If you have a business in the customer service industry, then empathy is a must because it means that you have employees who truly understand any issues the customer may have, and because they have that understanding, they can provide better results. Empathy is also a critical attribute of a good leader, because when a manager shows concern for their employees and properly explains how their work is making a difference, then they are more likely to listen and take pride in their responsibilities.
Most employers want to get hiring over as quickly as possible so they can get on with their day-to-day operations, but you have to take the time to hire the right people for the job. Even if the process takes a bit longer, the far-reaching benefits of hiring quality candidates could see that your company succeeds long into the future.