When it comes to hiring business owners want to find people with the skills they need to do the job.
In that regard there are many positions where a set of predetermined skills are generally accepted as the “natural fit.”
If you need a technical position filled you look for someone with coding or math. If you need a sales person you look for that outgoing type and so on.
While an aptitude for the job is an obvious consideration, there are so many other harder to find skills that are perhaps more important.
I had a coworker years ago that was painfully shy, very quite and almost non existent in many discussions. But then, towards the end of a long, drawn out meeting she would say something and the entire room would change.
She would usually start off with, “I don’t know, but seems like we should just . . . ” More times than not, it was the profound solution to what we had all been wrestling with.
On the surface this individual seemed to lack some of the skills many people look for, but what she possessed was an incredible knack of leadership and strategic thinking. These are skills that are hard to teach and even harder to find.
These, what some might call soft skills, are what makes an employee valuable to your organization and they are the skills you need to look for in those you hire.
In Re-Imagine, Tom Peters famously coined the term “hire freaks” to highlight the notion of finding people with the kind of innate skills that bring much more to a situation than the traditional profile of, say, a salesperson or customer service person.
My coworker certainly fit the notion of freak – she was socially awkward, seemingly misplaced and completely full of the kind of insight sorely lacking in most organizations.
You need leaders, people who can make the right decisions on their own, people who can communicate complex ideas in simple ways and people who can build relationships.
For this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I visited with Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself, The New Rules For Career Success. Dan has made a name for himself helping his generation (Gen Y) understand how to get ahead in their careers.
At the same time he’s established himself as an expert on the generation for those business leaders seeking to understand how to work with and retain workers under 30. In Promote Yourself, he spends a great deal of time outlining the virtues of soft skills for those who want to get noticed and promoted.
Obviously the book is written for the person looking to boost their career, but employers would be wise to read it for the lessons it contains in hiring people with the right stuff.
Non-traditional behavior of freaks
Want to hire someone with the skills needed to add value in today’s business world. Look for individuals who:
- Come with customer service backgrounds and a demonstrated desire to create better customer experiences
- Come with social media strategy backgrounds and get how to engage customers with content
- Come with an analytics background and revel in the role of playing mad scientist with the reams of data every business can produce and uncover
You must look for, test for and screen for these natural behaviors in the quest to find your best salespeople, service people and project people no matter if you are hiring consultants or plumbers.