While working for a mid-sized healthcare IT firm that was looking bring on 70 new team members in just 70 weeks, I developed a strategy to hire at a fast pace… without losing the quality I desired in a team member.
You see, during our pilot program, we hired those with extensive technical experience within a healthcare organization. We assumed industry experience would help them learn quickly, relate to our end users and do a good job.
However, the result was very different—each person in the pilot program failed… miserably.
We couldn’t understand. How did this happen? We vetted and screened candidates, we conducted in person interviews, we helped and guided them through the entire process… Something just wasn’t adding up. The results of the pilot program were so poor, the entire idea was almost postponed indefinitely.
A few days later, a light bulb went off in my head… I had been hired based on a few different factors, and none of them had to do with experience in that industry. Rather, I was hired based on personality, soft skills, and a particular level of intelligence.
It all made sense now—most likely, anyone can learn something new, but those that will succeed must also have strong personalities, confidence, motivation, drive, and the ability to speak well in front of others. You see, I always trust my gut and what I call “inspired ideas” or “inspired thoughts” that seem to come out of thin air—so when this idea suddenly popped into my head, I trusted it, ran with it.
We revised our hiring strategy to be based on soft skills… rather than experience. We started again, this time I vetted and interviewed people for personality and the desired soft skills.
Our success rate went from zero to about 95 percent.
We were quite astonished, happy… and relieved. This program taught me just how important these softer skills are—and I walked away with three key lessons important to share to job seekers everywhere:
1. You Don’t Need to Be the Expert to Succeed
Rather, all you need to bring with you are your great personality, motivation to learn, and confidence. Allow yourself to ask questions, learn from others, and research as much as possible; combined with your soft skills, you will become an amazing asset to any company or industry you work in.
2. Experience is Not Necessarily an Indicator of Success
How many times have you known someone who has extensive knowledge and experience, but has little personality and levels of engagement, and is on a stagnant career path? Personally, I can name many. Experience is not all it is cracked up to be!
3. Soft Skills Can Be Developed
Often, we assume that these softer skills are inherited rather than developed. I would argue that they are both inherited and developed for optimal success. I watched many of my former team members grow in confidence, expand their comfort zones, gain increased motivation, and improve their public speaking/presenting/interviewing skills. With practice, honest feedback, and encouragement, these skills can be developed far beyond what is just inherited or (right now) natural to you.
Push yourself beyond the norm. Push yourself to improve your social and soft skills, because these, in combination with knowledge and experience over time, are what will propel your career.
Without a doubt, in our new economy, soft skills get you hired!
How have you developed those soft skills? Tell us what has worked best for you, in the comments below!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Levo League!
About the Author: Nina Ferarro is the creator and primary contributor for Nina Inspired (www.ninainspired.com), a personal endeavor where she provides career advice, inspirational challenges, and webinars to help professionals and college graduates continue to propel their career. Her ultimate goal is to help coach, guide, and motivate individuals and teams to extraordinary levels of success. Nina graduated from University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing. Follow Nina on Twitter!
Image courtesy of eAdultEducation.org. Thank you!