The Results Are In: No. 1 Soft Skill Desired for a Job Candidate is Dependability

Cheerful business womanIn a recent monthly poll by Refresh Leadership, we asked our readers what’s the most important soft skill they look for in a job candidate, and nearly one-third (32%) picked “dependability/reliability.” Coming in second with 23% was “communication (verbal),” followed by “motivation” with 15%. “Teamwork” and “commitment” rounded out the top five with 12% and 8%, respectively.

Another 10% of respondents elected to choose the “other” option and weigh in with their most important soft skills they look for, including “independent problem-solving skills,” “ability to learn quickly,” “trustworthiness/accountability,” and “passion.”

Compared to a similar Refresh Leadership poll, in 2016, at the top of the list, for the third year in a row, was dependability/reliability at 72%, followed by motivation (48%), verbal communication (44%), teamwork (39%), and commitment (39%).

Hiring for Long-term Fit

One of the most important aspects to focus on during the hiring process is ensuring the candidate is not only well-equipped to successfully perform the required job duties, but to also fit into your team setting. Regardless the size of your organization, its company culture, or the industry, the ability to depend on one another is crucial to team unity.

As a leader, delegation is key to maintaining an efficient and productive work environment. And to do this properly, you must be able to rely on your team to not drop the ball on a project or task. That being said, dependability isn’t something that you can simply accept as a skill on a resume—you have to do a little more R&D to determine if a candidate is someone you and your team can depend on.

Check out these five tips to determine the level of dependability of a job candidate.

  1. Look at the longevity of employment on the resume. How long has she or he been at each position? Is he a job hopper? Has she spent most of her career at one company? The answers will give a decent idea on a potential employee’s loyalty level.
  2. Ask the candidate for a specific example of how others have depended on him or her in the past. If the job seeker is fresh out of college, ask for a specific example outside of the office with a friend, mentor, neighbor, etc. This will give you an idea of a candidate’s character.
  3. If applicable, have the candidate do a task or test for the specific position. For instance, if you’re hiring for an engineer, come up with a scenario that requires problem solving skills, have the candidate write a summary of how he or she would handle the situation, and then have the job seeker email it to you in a couple days. Not only will this show if the person can perform the job, but it will also show if the candidate can stick to deadlines and follow-through.
  4. Ask for references or reach out to any contacts listed on the job seeker’s resume. When interviewing, we all put our best foot forward and highlight our strengths, so having a third party vouch for someone will go a long way toward determining reliability. If a former employer is listed, first ask the candidate if it’s okay for you to contact the company. If yes, ask the ex-supervisor about the candidate’s punctuality and overall track record—dependability depends on discipline.
  5. Another viable option is to use a staffing agency to bring a candidate in for an interim period. For instance, Express Employment Professionals offers Evaluation Hire as a service line that helps an employer decide whether a candidate is the right fit by employing a candidate for a pre-determined period. After that time frame, the company can chose to hire the candidate or go back to the drawing board.

What do you do to determine if a candidate is right for you? How can you evaluate soft skills during the interview process? Let us know in the comments section below!

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One Response to The Results Are In: No. 1 Soft Skill Desired for a Job Candidate is Dependability

  1. Brian February 21, 2017 at 11:43 am #

    Although, I see how not staying on a job for a long period of time can weigh on the longevity, this can still be somewhat of a sliding scale and may not hold as much as it seems to in the article above? For instance, we’ll use 5 years as the scale, with it meaning longevity and anything less than being a short lived job. In regards to this the employee may have left a given job due to some extreme circumstances to include health issues or harassment or simply the employee not fitting into the culture of that given work environment meaning he/she leaves the job early. That is why is it all so important for the interviewer to ask the candidate to elaborate on the brevity of a past job if it is listed on his/her resume. In doing so, not only will this give the interviewer more details as to what specifically happened that made the interviewee leave their previous job earlier, but it may go onto to shed even more some on the culture and type of work environment to best fit the candidate. Further, this will help the interviewer to understand the person being interviewed better, which will then be another deciding factor to help the interviewer decide if the candidate for the job is a right fit for it and feel at ease/comfortable in the new work environment in which they may be going.

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