In some cases, a candidate has the right attitude, passion for the role, and ample soft skills, but they lack some of the hard skills needed for the position. When that happens, many hiring managers simply default to moving on to the next job seeker, mainly hoping that they’ll ultimately find a candidate with the right mix of capabilities.
The issue is that the labor market is currently incredibly tight. While you may find a job seeker with some of the technical abilities you’re after, they may not have the soft skills they’ll need to thrive in your workplace.
Since that’s the case, hiring a candidate with potential is often the wiser move. Generally, it’s far easier to teach a candidate hard skills than soft skills. By hiring a candidate with excellent soft skills, you essentially have a chance to mold them into your ideal employee. If you’re wondering what skills should be on the table for training, here are some classic options.
Machine or System Operation
Suppose a job seeker is tech-savvy or mechanically inclined but isn’t familiar with a specific piece of machinery or a particular system in your workplace. In that case, they could be the ideal candidate for training. In many cases, duties of this nature require the use of set processes and procedures. If a job seeker has used something similar in the past and they’re willing to learn, the odds are high that they’ll pick things up reasonably quickly.
How you go about training them may depend on your available resources. While formal education is an option, you could also explore job shadowing or mentorship arrangements. That allows the new hire to learn from an experienced colleague, giving them real-world lessons that may get them up to speed faster.
While communication skills are soft skills, presentation skills are part soft skills, part hard skills. If a candidate is a solid communicator, but they’re either unfamiliar or slightly uncomfortable with presentations, it’s possible that they could be taught the required hard skills to improve their performance in this arena.
Again, formal training is an option. However, pairing the new hire up with a strong presenter on a few projects could also do the trick. They’ll be able to observe a strong performer, get tips from their colleagues, and partner with them for a few presentations, essentially allowing them to ease into this aspect of their role.
Remote Work Technologies
Due to the pandemic, many companies assume that most candidates are familiar with remote work technologies. Since that’s the case, they may shy away from a job seeker who hasn’t used solutions like VPNs, cloud storage, or collaboration software.
However, teaching a generally tech-savvy candidate to use those systems often takes very little time. As a result, this is an ideal target for training, particularly if the job seeker brings other amazing soft skills to the table.
Ultimately, companies shouldn’t assume that a missing hard skill or two means a candidate isn’t worth considering. If a technical capability isn’t genuinely required on day one on the job, then being open to training is a smart move. Then, you can hire job seekers with the right soft skills, personality, and mentality, allowing you to cultivate your ideal workforce.
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