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Seven Soft Skills All Hiring Managers Need

For most jobs, whether you’re hiring a marketing director or a software engineer, the experience and skills specifically necessary for a position are categorized as “hard skills”—while it is the additional “soft skills” a candidate possesses that often make them stand out in an interview and have lasting success at an organization. For hiring managers, like yourself, your job is to interface with new candidates. These soft skills and communication abilities are an integral part of the hiring process.

The following soft skills are key for any successful head of a recruitment team.

1. Creativity and Imagination

The perfect candidate may be out there, but you have to find them first. Creative recruitment strategies are one way you can set the trajectory of a job search in the right direction. Narrowing a pool of applicants down also requires a certain amount of imagination by extrapolating a candidate’s skills, even non-traditional ones, and envisioning how particular candidates may fit within the organization. And when it appears at first glance of a resume you don’t have the perfect candidate on paper, you must be able to problem solve and detect potential, which often requires out-of-the-box thinking.

2. Flexibility

A great hiring manager needs to be capable of dealing with many types of personalities and must be able to shift focus from job search to job search—built into your DNA is the ability to adapt to a wide range of tasks and interact with a wide range of people. Furthermore, adjusting recruitment strategies to new information, new technologies, and different types of open positions can help make the recruitment process run efficiently, even when you have to change course.

3. Persuasion

Persuasion is all about the ability to convince someone to come to your way of thinking based on reason, a key component of the “soft sell.” If you have a great candidate who is ready to interview with your organization but is fielding multiple offers, your persuasion could be one of the factors that win them over. Recruitment is all about attracting candidates to your organization, but beyond the job ad, a persuasive hiring manager can convince applicants of your organization’s merit.

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4. Time Management

This skill is key to almost every job. When you have multiple open positions, you must be able to prioritize tasks and budget their time. From strategizing, to posting a job ad, to screening resumes, to conducting interviews, there are multiple steps to every candidate search. Your time ought to be focused on the most important aspects—like developing strategy or interfacing with top-tier candidates.

Beyond the day-to-day, understanding the time it takes to fill an open position with the right candidate is important for you to know. This way you can set the pace of each candidate search and be able to manage the timing of long-range projects. The ability to assess how and where to streamline the process with things likes resume screening software is also key.

5. Empathy

The most human trait of a Human Resources department is perhaps the ability to empathize with employees, listen to their complaints and desires, and truly understand a candidate’s position during the hiring process. Landing a new job is often a highly stressful situation for applicants. Sensitivity to the emotions of candidates can make an interview go better for both applicant and employer. Being empathetic will also ensure conscientious interactions with candidates that will speak highly of your brand to potential future applicants.

6. Listening

Perhaps the key thing a great communicator does is not saying anything at all. Communication, after all, is a two-way street. This skill is essential in the interview process, where the interviewer thoughtfully listens to candidate responses and can assess and process their skills and experience. Listening is crucial to understanding each applicant and their motivations for applying.

7. Collaboration

You must be able to work well with the entire HR team, delegating and overseeing particular projects. This requires the ability to know other’s skillsets, be open to other’s ideas, and share successes. This skill comes in most handy when dealing with the various different department heads of your organization. Determining and even anticipating their hiring needs. The hires come from collaboration with all departements.

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