Seven key employee skills to look out for

June 14, 2022
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Udi Klein
Seven key employee skills to look out for

In the wake of COVID-19, hiring practices have shifted. Employers and recruiters are now more focused on skills rather than previous experience. In fact, according to LinkedIn’s research on talent trends in 2019, “91% of employers say soft skills — like communication and people management — matter most when making a hiring decision.” To find out how to track employee skills, and identify the best candidates out there, we'll explore how to assess employee skills and competencies. Including an employee skills list with seven key soft skills that are highly sought after by many businesses today. We'll also answer what corrective action is needed when an employee lacks skills?

What are the key employee skills to look out for?

Communication skills

Communication is a cornerstone of business relationships and employee performance. You need people who can effectively communicate with customers, clients, colleagues, managers, and vendors—and also those who will be able to explain technical details clearly. But communication is not just about speaking to employees and customers —it's also about listening and understanding what others need from you. Effective listening skills can help make better decisions, build stronger relationships with clients, and resolve conflicts more effectively.

The ability to communicate clearly helps to ensure that messages get across effectively—whether someone’s speaking one-on-one with an employee or addressing an entire team at a meeting.

Proactive problem-solving skills

Proactive problem-solving skills are important because they can help you identify problems and find solutions. Whether it be a challenge in the office, with a customer, or even personal issues that your employees bring up, having someone on board who knows how to take initiative will be an asset.

A candidate who has proactive problem-solving skills will likely be good at thinking critically and coming up with innovative ideas– and resourceful when faced with challenges.

Flexibility/adaptability to change

In today's world, the ability to adapt is crucial for success. A candidate that can easily adapt to different situations will be able to make decisions quickly and efficiently when needed and find ways to solve problems without being overwhelmed or stressed out.

Critical thinking

Critical thinkers weigh up the pros and cons of ideas and situations. It’s important for problem-solving, decision-making, and learning. Critical thinkers can separate fact from opinion by asking themselves questions like:

  • How do you know that? Is it a fact? An assumption? A belief? An opinion?
  • What makes you believe this is true (or false)? What evidence supports your conclusion(s)? Can you provide examples that support your point of view as well as examples that challenge it (and why)?
  • How might someone else interpret this information differently than I have interpreted it based upon their own experience and perspective on the subject matter at hand--and why would they interpret it differently than I have done so myself?

Collaboration and teamwork

Collaboration and teamwork are important skills for any role. While some people naturally excel at collaboration, others need to learn how to work well with others. The best candidates will be able to demonstrate this skill through their experience and past performance, and the interviewer should seek answers about how the candidate has collaborated in the past. Here are some things you can ask in an interview:

  • “Tell me about a time where you had to work together with a team of people?”
  • “What was your role on this project? How did it go?”
  • “What is one thing you learned from that experience?"

Interpersonal skills

The ability to work and communicate well with others, and be comfortable around people from diverse backgrounds is an interpersonal skill. These skills are important for any role that requires you to interact with other people.

For example, if you're hiring a salesperson who will be calling on clients in person and meeting them at their offices or homes, interpersonal skills are critical because they'll need to be able to explain how their product or service can meet the needs of their customers while also establishing good rapport and trust with them so they feel comfortable purchasing from your company. Similarly, if you're hiring an assistant manager who needs to manage a team of employees and report directly back to you as the manager (and possibly even interact directly with clients), it's essential that he or she has strong interpersonal skills because this person will have a lot of contact with his colleagues on a daily basis—not just during meetings but also throughout their daily interactions at work.

Task-management and organizational skills

Task management and organizational skills are important for all positions, but especially those in which a candidate will be responsible for managing their own time. These traits can be assessed by asking candidates to describe how they would handle common scenarios, such as:

  • Prioritizing tasks, projects, and clients
  • Managing schedules and deadlines
  • Managing multiple projects at once
  • Managing workloads that vary from day-to-day (or week-to-week)

When you’re looking for new talent, it can be easy to get bogged down in the details of a resume or a job description, especially if you’re working with a high volume of applicants. The best way to cut through all the clutter and find candidates who are truly qualified is by focusing on their skills. A hiring intelligence platform like HiPeople helps you instantly identify candidates who have what it takes. Once you compare which candidates have the necessary soft and hard skills, it becomes a lot easier to identify the candidates who meet your criteria.

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