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In today’s hiring market, identifying candidates that have more than what is necessary of the role on paper is vital to an organization's success. This means having not only the technical skills required to do the job, but the social skills needed to lead a project, work with other employees, form a team, and relate to customers and clients in the marketplace.
Social intelligence is often downplayed among hiring managers and employers when compared to hard skills. CareerBuilder recently found that while over 80% of Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. use personality tests to profile job applicants for social and emotional intelligence, only 27% of all hiring managers nationwide take such evaluations into consideration when selecting a candidate.
Similarly, young talent is often educated to believe that their hard skill set vs. soft skills will be the ultimate deciding factor for career progression.
With such a disconnect in what really matters, hiring managers and recruiters should consider the importance of social skills in the workplace in order to find the best, most qualified candidates and assemble the most successful teams.
Consider the advantages of social and emotional intelligence in the workplace:
- Bring Value to the Company: You might be an efficient programmer, but are you a good fit for the company? Hiring managers look for those who add something to the organization. It is difficult to bring something to the table if you cannot work well with other employees.
- The Role of Training: According to Bloomberg, social competency is much less fluid than the ability to learn technical skills. In other words, while a social person can be taught some technical skills, it is more difficult to teach a nonsocial employee social competence. Therefore, socially aware people have a competitive edge.
- Presenting Ideas: Social skills allow you to better present your ideas. A manager/coworkers can only use your innovative ideas if you can effectively share them with others. This requires the ability to explain, promote, and implement the concepts at hand.
- Marketplace: For some, understanding the industry and market requires understanding and relating to people. One cannot market or sell without the ability to appeal to an audience. In order to offer appealing goods or services, one must know what the audience needs and/or wants.
- Leadership: For leaders, social competency allows one to manage people, hire people, form teams, understand the marketplace, and problem-solve in the workplace. One cannot rise to the top of the ladder without interacting with those also climbing the ladder.
Because social intelligence allows so many benefits for both the employee and the employer, it is no longer an asset than can be overlooked. Such competence allows for workplace harmony and employee success, making it absolutely imperative for hiring managers to consider.