Soft Skills to Look for In Any Labor Candidate

March 13th, 2020

When you hire a machine operator, CNC expert, warehouse worker, or any hands-on employee for your factory, shop floor, or kitchen, you know that specific skill sets are crucial. Testable and measurable areas of expertise, sometimes called “hard skills,” are often easy to identify, at least on the surface. Can the applicant operate a sensor-balanced narrow-aisle forklift? Ask them. Can they find their way around an industrial bake oven? Put them in front of one and see. Hard skills can be checked and proven during initial screening and interview.  

But what about “soft” skills, the kind that can’t always be measured, but are vital to success? Here are a few traits to look for in your applicants that are worth more than gold in a labor-intensive environment.  

Flexibility.  

Does your candidate listen and absorb new information quickly? Or does he believe he knows it all? Can she adapt her approach when the circumstances around her change? Can he adjust his words and actions based on the needs of the moment and the people in the room? Can she change her schedule and plans at a moment’s notice without being given a clear explanation?  If you can answer yes to these questions, this person may be a great hire.  

Attention.  

Is your candidate alert and dialed in? Candidates that pay attention to the world around them can also be relied on to care about small details that can make or break the success of their work. They’re safer to have in the workplace since they’re alert to what’s happening in the environment. And by showing up and tuning in, they contribute immeasurably to the success of your business.  

Teamwork.  

Teamwork means knowing when to step up and lead, and when to shift gears and follow, and it means switching back and forth easily when the need arises without letting a weak ego or a fragile sense of self get in the way. Team players take care of themselves, but they also recognize that the needs of the team sometimes come first. They can put aside their own needs and fears and personal ambitions to help the team reach its goals.  

Social awareness.  

Can your candidate read a room? Can he or she tell if someone is annoyed, relieved, embarrassed, or concerned? Does he know how to respond appropriately to these feelings in others? Can he recognize the feelings of others as separate from himself? If not, your candidate may not thrive in a workplace that requires team interactions and team trust. But if so, he’ll bring out the best in others as well as himself. 

Find Labor Candidates Today

For more on how to spot the best candidates for your workplace, contact the staffing experts at PSU.  

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