How do you measure ‘soft’ skills?

Posted on by Nancy Slessenger This entry was posted in Recruitment and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.



One of the things our recruitment clients often ask about is how to measure ‘soft’ skills.



Yes, they are more difficult to measure than some of the more technical skills. However, there are ways. Today I’m going to share with you some basic building blocks in one very key skill – rapport.



It’s something you instinctively know, but as it turns out, there are some objective measures. You can use these for recruitment but also for training people. And yes, they can be learned.




An easy way to work it out


When you are trying to work out how to measure soft skills, one easy (well, easier) way is to pick someone who has the skills you are looking for and compare what they do with someone who does not have the skills.




How to measure rapport skills


Here are some of the things you can look for when you are checking for rapport-building skills:

You laugh more with others than on your own

Laughing with others builds up rapport


• Responses to your behaviour

• Laughing at your jokes

• Asking you questions about yourself




Responses to your behaviour


During any conversation, it’s much smoother if the other party responds appropriately to what you are saying. In other words, if you mention that it’s raining or cold, do they sound sympathetic?




Laughing at your jokes


This may sound silly, but laughter is one of the building blocks of relationships. If you don’t believe me, just notice how often people who get on well laugh together compared to those who don’t get on well.



So a good measure is to make a casual witty remark and see what response you get. (If you find that hard, have one ready prepared.)




Asking you questions about yourself


A large proportion of rapport is about understanding the needs of others and being interested in them. So when you are interviewing someone and want to check if they have that skill, simply give them some opportunities to ask you something about yourself.



We do a lot of recruitment in the veterinary field. I often ask candidates if they have any pets. This is an opportunity for them to ask me if I have any pets. I usually give them three opportunities to ask me something about myself. If you are looking for a receptionist, it’s the kind of skill you probably want. Or indeed anyone who often deals with customers.

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