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2a26a517bb0436f9d510050ae1a5a9f0This is a guest post by Reto Ruegger, Co-Founder, softfactors AG. Follow Reto on Twitter and make sure to stop by softfactors’ stand at the disruptHR zone at the HR Tech World Congress 2015, 27-28 October, Paris.

Checking soft skills early in the recruiting process – just a „nice to have“?

Every recruiter knows the problem: time and again, a candidate with the perfect CV is not the most suitable candidate for the job. By “suitable” we usually mean a person whose typical behavior matches with the job requirements, and whose personality fits with the team. Poorly fitting soft skills lead to expensive wrong hires, not just in management positions but throughout an entire organization, infecting relationships within teams.

Our behavior as human beings results from deeply rooted personality dimensions, and, as such, is difficult to change. We witness the difficulty that comes with breaking old habits or beliefs on a daily basis. Therefore, it is crucial to keep an eye on the preferred patterns of behavior in candidates.

Unfortunately, the reality is often very different. Many organizations still focus first and singlemindedly on the match between a CV and job requirements. Only at much later stages of a hiring process – in interviews or assessments – they take a closer look at the human side. In many instances, after rounds of disappointing interviews, a hiring manager goes back to the initial pool of names to find another applicant. What a waste of time and resources, and how frustrating from a human point of view!

Therefore, checking for soft skills early in the recruiting process dramatically enhances your chances of identifying a suitable candidate as well as reduces the time spend on the process. And the good news is: a standardized soft-skill screening is easy to implement, thanks to the latest technologies. Say goodbye to elefantastic IT-implementation projects!

Employer Branding creates tangible value for the candidate

Soft-skill recruiting not only improves quality and speed of hiring. It also creates a new and different candidate experience which leads to a concrete and real benefit in terms of Employer Branding.

The old way is to use a technocratic ATS-system for uploading CVs filled with hard factor evidence through an, often times, complicated platform. The new way is to offer a candidate an easy-to-use and pleasant (or even fun) access point for applying. And, even though it is still an electronic platform, it puts the human side of the candidate in the center of the process.

In a way, you can describe it as digital mini-assessment, where a candidate creates a map of their thinking and communication styles. As a result, you get an understanding of the preferences and the habits that drive the way he/she thinks, makes decisions and interacts with others. Candidates, in the meantime, automatically receive the results of the screening summarized in a short and easy-to-understand personality profile. Imagine how you would feel as a candidate when, in addition to the regular “Thank you for applying…” confirmation mail, you receive a report indicating the strong and weak aspects of the fit between you and the job, and offers you analysis of your communication patterns. Quite a different message for a candidate, even if she/he doesn’t get the job in the end, isn’t it?

Employers can thus create a win-win situation with a double benefit: They receive candidate profiles that are more meaningful than just a CV and create a positive image towards candidates by offering them added value for applying.

Professional soft-skill screening – based on clear and thorough job profiles

If you want to benefit from such a win-win situation (after all, a successful hiring is nothing else but a win-win situation, isn’t it?), you have to start at the beginning: a clear and thorough job profile.

Take a look at a typical job description: A list of detailed and well-written tasks and responsibilities, but when it comes to personality- or behavior-related qualities the language becomes vague and general, and often times full of meaningless cliches (for example, think of the word “team player”!). The challenge is to bring the job to life: What kind of a person would you like to see in this job? Someone delivering thorough research results or someone evaluating issues from a strategic perspective? What special skills do you want this new member to add to your existing team? These are the examples of specific attributes which define a “team player”. And this is the language you need in a meaningful job profile.

If you think that writing such job profile must be a complicated and time-consuming task, think again. softfactors has a job library full of templates, based on 26 competencies and more than 100 behaviors. Writing a job profile becomes fast and easy, and the result is the foundation of soft-skill screening.

Your choice: Be a CV broker or a recruiter with a human touch!

Give it a try and check us out: We invite you to experience the softfactors recruiting suite from a candidate’s perspective. Get to know our field-tested instruments which offer a fast and reliable first check of hard factors and soft skills, leading to impactful screening of candidates.