Unless you're living under a rock, you'll have realized that coding is huge right now.
Look around you -- there are coding bootcamps, coding workshops, and even coding toys that are marketed to kids as young as three years old. Yep, it's safe to say that the world is pretty much obsessed with coding.
But if you're wondering what's the biggest skills gap in the US, LinkedIn's CEO Jeff Weiner's says that it's not coding. Instead, Weiner states that what employers want are soft skills, including oral communication, team-building, and leadership skills.
Here's how Weiner puts it: "As powerful as AI will ultimately become and is becoming, we're still miles away from computers being able to replicate and replace human interaction and human touch." According to Wiener, there's a "wonderful incentive" for people to develop these skills because those jobs going to be "more stable for a longer period of time".
Does that mean I shouldn't hire based on skill sets and experience?
As an entrepreneur, you might be used to looking out for hard skills and experience when you interview and hire. Does this mean you should drop everything you're doing, and completely switch tactics?
Well, not quite. It's perfectly fine to still filter and evaluate applicants by the hard skills they possess, as long as you're also paying attention to the soft skills that they bring to the table.
So, say you're hiring a marketing manager, and you interview a candidate who's well-versed in all the tools and software your company uses, including Salesforce, HubSpot, and SEMrush. Now, if this person looks perfect on paper, but you get the vibe that they're not much of a team-player and they're not a good fit, culture-wise, you should definitely pass on them. Don't ignore your judgement and hire them purely for their hard skills.
At the end of the day, we're moving into an era where tasks and projects are increasingly become automated, and if you think about it, all our hard skills will eventually become obsolete. Keep that in mind!
Questions to Assess a Candidate's Soft Skills
Not sure how to evaluate a candidate on their soft skills? Here are a few questions that I get my hiring managers to ask when conducting interviews.
- To test willingness to learn: How do you make sure you learn and grow consistently in your work and life? Please give a few examples.
- To test commitment: Describe a time when you went above and beyond in your job. What motivated you to put in the extra effort? Was it worth it?
- To test communication: Have you ever had an idea you felt strongly about that others didn't agree with? How did you communicate this idea to them, and did you manage to win them over?
- To test humility and self-awareness: Everyone has made their fair share of mistakes in their career. Can you share one such example?
- To test task management: Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your work? How did that happen, and how did you solve the problem?
When evaluating their responses, make sure that they don't stay just on the superficial level. Keep asking follow-up questions when you're not convinced by what they said. Even asking "why" multiple times can help you get better answers.
If they don't have great stories to share when asked those questions, it just means that they still have to work on their soft skills. And for you, it's time to interview other candidates.