Whether it’s renovating a home, finding deals, or figuring out your taxes, nothing can detour your business faster than putting a job in the hands of the wrong person. With the NFL Draft starting tonight – where every team is looking to fill their needs with the perfect teammate – we asked our Best Ever Community what intangible skills they look for when hiring a new staff member.
It’s easy to measure a person based on their “hard” skills – or the skills that a person has learned like math, science, or, in tonight’s case, Kyler Murray’s ability to drop a dime while scrambling for his life. It’s a completely different story when you’re trying to gauge a person based on their “soft” skills – the intangible traits that make you who you are. But, if there’s one thing that our Best Ever Community agrees on, it’s that these soft skills are what help shape the hard skills you need to complete the job.
“I used to vet people for [hard] skills,” says Nathan Hirsch, CEO of the virtual recruiting company FreeeUp. “I would hire someone with a great resume, 5 + years of experience and 5-star reviews on other platforms. A month later I was pissed off and frustrated. How could someone with so much skill not be a good fit? I realized that skill was only a part of the equation. The full picture is skill, attitude and communication.
“For skill, I don’t need them to be a 10/10. They can be an 8/10 or a 3/10, as long as they are honest about what they can or cannot do.
“For attitude, I want people that are passionate about what they do. If I hire a bookkeeper, they need to love bookkeeping as much as I love being an entrepreneur. I look for people who can accept feedback without taking it personally and not get aggressive when something doesn’t go their way.
“For communication, I want people that can show up on time, respond within a business day and let us know upfront if they can’t work. The full triangle has led to a lot of amazing hires and it is the foundation of the FreeeUp vetting process.”
We’ve broken our list of intangible skills provided by our Best Ever Community members into two different, yet closely related categories. Often, these soft skills go hand-in-hand and sometimes a skill could be argued for both categories. Nevertheless, each of the following are features you should be looking for when hiring a new team member:
- Organization: Can be developed but vital for keeping projects on track.
- Communication: The ability to convey the right message (sometimes non-verbally), be open, and develop relationships. This could be considered more of an art than a skill.
- Cooperation: Or as Chris Tracy says, “Playing nicely in the sandbox.”
- Flexibility and Ability to Remain Negotiable: Keeping an open mind and a desire to understand where someone is coming from is vital for productivity.
- Detail-Oriented: The difference between “meh” and “wow” are in the details. Employees who are conscience of the details can create customers for life.
- Action-Oriented: The last thing you need is someone who wants to sit around and wait for the job to come to them.
- Diligence: Persistent effort to get the job done.
- Objectivity: “Deal metrics in particular,” says James White, “but other areas as well, such as geography, demographics, psychographics, etc.”
- Honesty, Integrity, and Ethical: “Integrity and a great work ethic,” suggests Garth Andrew Kukla, “because those are traits you can’t teach someone. Either they have it or they don’t, and I like both. But the best thing I’ve ever done is hire only people – who after meeting them – I’ll say to myself ‘I can’t imagine them not joining my team!’ It’s a high bar but has served me very, very well.”
- Patience: “Be patient and play the long game would be my skill of choice when recruiting, says Dino Pierce. “I’m going to be active in the space for at least another 30 years. Let’s think long term, be detail-oriented and diligent, have patience, think legacy, and make moves so we all win.”
- Teachable: The willingness to learn and humbleness to crave it.
- Resilience: It’s not about whether they will fail, it’s about how will they recover? You’re looking for that never-give-up attitude. Everybody sing, “You can stand me up at the gates of Hell, but I won’t… back… down.”
- Curiosity: Demonstrates a thirst for knowledge.
- Optimistic: Having a positive attitude is a crucial characteristic for being a leader.
- Resourceful: Every company needs their own MacGyver to find outside-the-box solutions
- Genuine: Being original goes beyond personal style; it’s having a consistently authentic personality.
- Activator: One of my favorite terms (suggested by Charlie Kao), this is the ability to turn thoughts, ideas, and concepts into actions.
- Fearlessness: Someone who is not afraid to fall down will carry a position to new heights.
- Passion: Like Nathan said in his quote, the best attitude is derived from the passion a person has for the job.
- Humility: “I think humility is a big one for me,” says Ola Dantis. “The soft skills are equally as important in building long-term success.” Like being teachable, humility allows for someone to recognize that they may not know it all and be considerate of contrasting views/opinions.
We’re not suggesting that any one person is going to exhibit each and every one of these skills. But the key is to find ways to determine which of these skills the individual has or lacks. It’s important to decide which skills are a MUST for the job, and which can be developed on a daily basis.
Like every GM in the NFL is doing right now, paying close attention to combinations of these skills can land you the ideal candidate for the job.
“Communication, ethical, genuine, honesty, heart,” suggests John Fortes. “Look for those intangibles. When they all come together, you have an all-star that might be a Hall of Famer. [The candidate] has to be teachable.”
What did we miss? Let us know what soft skills you look for when hiring the ULTIMATE team member.