Soft skills are becoming increasingly more important in executive recruiting. In fact, a high level of emotional intelligence is needed to navigate complex executive environments successfully and produce optimal results for a company. Soft skills have proven to be so valuable to executive positions that companies have begun to recognize and look for soft skills as determining factors for their next executive hires. These soft skills include but are not limited to effective communication, conflict resolution, and time management.

In 2019, the talent market is expected to continue tightening, and the last thing your business needs is a hiring mistake. When assessing candidates in the coming year, be sure to evaluate potential hires’ soft skills as well as their traditional job skills, and you’ll be likelier to choose the right person for the right executive position.

How To Evaluate Soft Skills

Compared to technical skills like handling a company’s finances (CFO), spearheading technology (CTO), and practicing organizational leadership (CEO), soft skills are much more difficult to evaluate. It’s actually illegal in many cases to ask references how a candidate got along with coworkers or what kind of leader they were. And putting their best foot forward is the name of the game when it comes to interviewing, so it can be difficult to get a good read of executive candidates that way, too.

But there are a few surefire ways to evaluate soft skills. First, quite a bit of information can be gleaned from the interview if you ask the right questions.

Here are a few questions to ask to address soft skills directly or indirectly:

  • Explain a work conflict that you personally experienced. How did you handle it?
  • Describe a time you were assigned a task that you had never done before. How did you react? What did you learn from this experience of learning the new task?
  • When was the last time something major didn’t go as planned at work? What was your role in resolving this? How did it work out?
  • How do you prioritize your time when you have several projects to juggle? What did a typical day look like when this situation occurred?

Listen closely as executive candidates answer these questions. If they exhibit professionalism, this can indicate that they have a number of important qualities including the ability to prioritize, self-confidence, and an awareness of what kind of behaviors are appropriate in given situations.

A number of soft skills assessments exist including soft skills tests. However, a better and even more telling way to assess executive candidates soft skills may be to add an interview component that can allow your team to observe a real-world task performed by the candidate. For an executive candidate, this may involve consulting on a new office opening, attending a board meeting, or attending a company dinner or another formal event.

By using Thrive TRM tools, you can compare executive candidate profiles after they’ve been assessed to make faster, better hiring decisions. Make 2019 your best year yet. Schedule a demo to see everything Thrive TRM can do to help your in-house executive search efforts.

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