You hear us babbling on about soft skills and relevant experience a lot, but what about life skills?
Yes, it’s brilliant if a candidate has a bachelor’s degree and over 10 years of experience working in your industry.
However, if they haven’t developed a level of life skills during their off days, it can stunt the growth of your business.
You see, everyone has a life outside of work.
So, if you can find someone who has experienced lots of different things or has demonstrated relevant job skills outside of work hours, you’ll be hiring a well-rounded individual.
As a result, this can benefit your business in the short and long-term.
To give you an idea of what life skills are and which ones are extra important, I’ve written a quick guide to help inspire your hiring decisions.
What are life skills?
Before I delve into the types of life skills you should be seeking out, I think it’s wise to define what they are.
Life skills are necessary or desirable abilities that help a person participate in everyday life.
Without them, we would struggle to do regular tasks at work.
Concerning the working environment, certain life skills are more relevant than others, depending on the type of career or industry the professional is going for.
Life skills can be as broad as having the ability to communicate effectively with colleagues to as straightforward as having a license to drive.
When you’re hiring a new employee, you must make a list of all of the life skills that are desirable and necessary.
To give you some inspiration, here are some examples of the latter.
The first necessary life skill is arguably one of the most important.
In particular, money management and workload.
How does a candidate manage their money on a weekly basis? Do they budget each month or live for the next payday?
The same questions can be tweaked for assessing someone’s workload management skills too.
How do they deal with large quantities of work and tight deadlines? Do they have a system that helps them manage their time more effectively?
While you can’t ask them directly about their budgeting habits, it’s certainly worth asking them generalised questions during the interview that’ll give you a rough indication. For example:
- Would you say that you’re an organised person?
- Have you ever dealt with money and budgets in any of your previous roles?
- How do you manage tight deadlines and big workloads?
All of these questions should provide answers on a candidate’s organisational life skills.
We all face certain uncomfortable scenarios at some point in our lives.
Being resilient is about learning from your failures and taking on board any hard-to-hear feedback.
The candidates who don’t let the times of hardship slow them down are the most resilient.
These are desirable life skills to have when you’re trying to build a successful business.
When you’re getting to know a candidate, you need to determine whether they have a positive mindset and give you key examples of how they continued to move forward.
It’s how the person chooses to respond to the bad times that matters. To become more resilient, they need to feel more, not less.
When you ask them to give you an example of a challenging time or low point during their career, did the candidate brush over it and pretend like it never happened?
Or did they give you an honest response that acknowledged their feelings, but described how they learnt from it and found a solution?
Everyone has resilience, it’s just whether the candidate you’re interviewing has discovered how to use it as a life skill.
If you find someone with these qualities, they’ll be better prepared for the tricky scenarios they’ll ace while working for your business.
Interpersonal and communication skills
To get on with the team, it’s important that the candidate has strong communication and interpersonal skills.
These types of life skills are detrimental to the way your business operates and how it’s perceived by customers or clients.
For example, if the candidate is rude to a customer, they won’t return.
Or if their type of personality clashes with another colleague, this could put a dampener on team spirit and the culture you’re trying to build.
One of my favourite interview questions to ask comes from one of our previous posts:
“Have you ever disagreed with your manager or colleague? How did you deal with it?
This question tests the candidate’s communication skills and how they handled a difference of opinion, instead of the actual incident itself.
Did they demonstrate the basic qualities of empathy and respect?
Anybody who deflects the blame and refuses to take any responsibility is toxic and will cause rifts in the way that they communicate.
It’s better to identify this sooner rather than later!
The final essential life skill you should look out for is those with an inquisitive nature.
“Learn how” is replacing “know-how” in businesses.
You don’t want someone who thinks they know everything.
The biggest innovators and problem-solvers are the professionals who love to ask questions to learn and grow as people.
It’s the type of skills that Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia demonstrated when they couldn’t afford to pay their rent.
They wondered how they could use the additional space in their apartment to lodge tourists to fund this issue.
Finding the solution resulted in the founding of Airbnb!
You will be able to identify those with the “learn how” skill by listening to the types of questions they ask you during the interview.
In theory, they should be excited to learn more.
If you enjoyed reading this blog and want some further inspiration on how to find candidates with necessary life skills, take a look at the following posts:
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