Soft Skills as Vital Signs for Successful Predictive Hiring

The term “soft skills” seems like such a flimsy characterization for the magnitude of importance it bears as it relates to employers, employees, and organizations. If we’re literal, they should actually be called vital skills! Let me explain.

Think about the healthcare industry. What is the first thing medical professionals and health care providers do when a patient arrives for an appointment? At a minimum, they capture four main vital signs: body temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure - as these indicate the overall health and wellness of patients. When consistently monitored, they can provide early warning when a medical emergency is developing.

If we placed the same consideration on soft skills in business as we do vital signs in healthcare, perhaps the health and wellness of our organizations would thrive, as the employees thrive.

Think about it; when a candidate arrives for an interview, the resume already likely presents the technical background and experience the job requires. Or perhaps, the organization is willing to offer training and education to the candidate nullifying any previous experience. So what’s left? Their vital signs (soft skills)!

Soft skills are imperative in today’s workplace, and organizations are responsible for understanding and articulating the “vital skills” employees need to be successful and help advance the organization.

A simple search for “soft skills” will render a multitude of results aggregated from years of surveyed individuals and organizations. If you’re a hiring manager looking for the ultimate employees who possess them all, keep looking! The best hiring authorities know what skills are vital to the positions within the organization and should be deliberate when listing desired skills to draw in potential applicants.

Keep in mind many may initially struggle with identifying their own strengths, so consider utilizing behavioral assessments, such as DISC, to quickly highlight key characteristics of potential candidates. It’s akin to healthcare professionals taking vital signs!

Here are some examples of what soft skills DISC can illuminate:

  • “D” Style: Dominant and decisive in their nature, candidates possessing traits within this behavioral style are likely to display desired qualities such as leadership, self-direction, conflict management, teamwork, and integrity.
  • “I” Style: Influential and people-oriented by nature, candidates possessing traits within this behavioral style are likely to be effective verbal communicators, demonstrate flexibility and adaptability, and are great team players.
  • “S” Style: Because this style brings a desire for teamwork, security, and consensus, they are most likely to excel at problem-solving, mediating conflict, team building, and collaboration. While less assertive in nature than the “D” and “I” style, “S” personalities are also effective verbal and written communicators.
  • “C” Style: This task and data-driven style offers more passive strengths, such as attention to detail, creativity, research, and critical analysis, as well as excellent organizational skills.

Knowing and understanding any applicant’s unique and predictable behavioral tendencies can prove highly informative throughout the hiring process and eliminate inconsistencies, such as placing the right person in the wrong position or hiring the wrong person to lead a team. DISC can also be utilized as a professional development tool to identify hidden strengths for advancement opportunities and as a factor in any internal restructuring or realignment.

Remember, soft skills are the vital signs employers should identify, employ, and monitor throughout the lifecycle of the organization. They are what keeps the health and wellness of individuals and organizations intact and thriving.

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Written by: Lindy Lamielle

Lindy is a retired Air Force veteran, Certified Behavioral Life Coach, and DISC Consultant and entrepreneur who enjoys learning and sharing knowledge. When she's not sitting on the soccer field sidelines or putting out teenage fires, she fills her cup through speaking, writing, coaching small business owners and entrepreneurs, and performing a little social media sourcery. Personality Style: S-I