Look for valuable skills in applicants
May 2, 2012
Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner AdvanceHR
Don’t hire new people just for the specialized knowledge or experience they have. Instead, hire new people also for the important skills and assets you want in most or all of your employees. For nine common traits and skills to look for, keep reading.
Increasingly, the most valuable asset of a job applicant isn’t a specialized knowledge of one particular field (for example, architecture or engineering). The most valuable assets of a job applicant often are skills increasingly common to all job positions.
- Computer literacy. Look for the individual who can analyze and interpret computer information, who can assist the organization in making the best use of this technology.
- Ability to use information. The person who knew all that could be said about one aspect of the business has been replaced by the computer and the Internet. Look for the applicant who acquires critical information rapidly and knows the difference between relevant and irrelevant material.
- Capacity to be a team player. Today’s emphasis is on team playing — collaborating, listening and arriving at decisions by group consensus. Team playing also requires that employees express concerns and discuss problems in a non-threatening, constructive manner.
- Strategic vision. For example, ask applicants, “What ideas did you have at your last place of employment to make it a better place?”
- Presentation skills. These abilities go hand-in-hand with strategic vision. An employee might have clever, innovative ideas. But they are of no value if he or she can’t sell you or others on the vision.
- Familiarity with change. More and more, in today’s business climate, the only constant is change. You want an employee who is comfortable with — and even encourages — constructive change in the workplace.
- Time management. You want an employee who promptly deals with hassles and yet finishes a project on time. Ask an applicant what he or she considers to be the key elements of time management.
- Independent judgment and discretion. What experience does an applicant have with independent thinking? Ask: “How and when did you act outside of normal procedures?”
- Personal accountability. For example, ask applicants, “What past mistakes offered you a unique learning experience?”