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Darren Wingfield

Darren Wingfield

Commercial Manager

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9 Essential Soft Skills To Look For When Hiring New Staff

Posted on 07/07/23  |  3 Minutes

Growing your team is an exciting process, giving you an opportunity to bring new skills, experience and energy into your workforce by finding the right candidate. Of course, relevant career experience is a crucial factor in determining the suitability of prospective hires. Beyond the specifics, though, there is also a vast range of soft skills that can make a new member of staff a highly valuable addition to your team.

We’re exploring these soft skills in today’s post to help you find the key ingredients needed for a top-notch team to help your business thrive.

What are soft skills and why do they matter?

Soft skills are non-technical skills that generally take the form of personal traits and attributes, helping employees to better cooperate and communicate with their coworkers and perform their duties to a higher standard.

By hiring for soft skills, and proactively nurturing these skills within your team, your business can enjoy improved productivity, customer service and retention, and team morale among various other welcome commercial benefits.

Top soft skills to look for when hiring

Whether you choose to ask focused interview questions based around your desired soft skills or wait for candidates to proactively demonstrate their own soft skills through their answers, it’s important to take an active approach to hiring for the soft skills that matter in the modern workplace.

Here are some of the most sought-after and valuable soft skills to look for when hiring a new member of staff for your team:

  • Time management: efficiency is a highly desirable quality in the workplace, meaning staff time is well-utilised with minimal wastage - and effective time management is the key to an efficient team
  • Problem-solving: encountering challenges is an everyday occurrence in business, and each new problem threatens to waste time or derail progress - but with an expert problem-solver, you can be confident they’ll innovate their way through any obstacle
  • Critical thinking: an analytical mind always has value in business, and seasoned critical thinkers will be able to perform best-practice risk assessments and conduct fruitful data analysis for more informed decision-making
  • Empathy: compassion is a vital trait for those in leadership roles, and demonstrably empathetic candidates are likely to have the understanding and compassion needed to lead - winning team trust and motivating staff to excel
  • Communication: from verbal communication (in person and over the phone) to non-verbal communication (such as body language and eye contact) and even written communication (via emails and reports), effective and respectful communication has serious power in the workplace
  • Collaboration: an ability to contribute and work as a team has professional benefits galore. You can count on collaborative staff members to participate in meetings, deliver constructive feedback and effective training, and go the extra mile to help their coworkers
  • Delegation: another important leadership quality, being able to delegate urgent tasks to the person best placed to complete them is a more niche but highly valuable soft skill that proves a candidate is well-acquainted with the Eisenhower Matrix and focused on deliverables
  • Creativity: a creative team will breathe new life into your business, generating ideas that help you to drive efficiencies, expand your service offering and more. As the applications of AI continue to evolve, creative skills are becoming increasingly sought-after as a welcome complement to what can be automated
  • Conflict management: a harmonious team is a productive team, and individuals able to quickly and effectively resolve interpersonal conflicts are a valuable asset in any business. Seek out candidates with high emotional intelligence, an objective mindset and a talent for mediating disagreements 

With a healthy balance of these coveted soft skills in your team, you’ll see work completed efficiently and collaboratively to a high standard by a group of motivated individuals working in alignment. This recipe has all the makings of a super team.

However, there are some duties you may choose to outsource to third-party experts so you can keep your team focused on the task at hand - and that includes your company’s accounts. At Harlands Accountants, we’re ideally placed to support with your business’s books, so get in touch today to find out more about how we could help lighten your accounting load.