Feb 25th 2020

How do you spot the diamond in the rough? 

‘Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.’ Paul. J Meyer has a valid point. 

Strong communication skills can be found on pretty much every job description. As it should be. The ability to communicate clearly should not be underestimated in the workplace. 

But why? 

A big factor driving the importance of this soft skill is the rise of the tech industry – growing 2.6 times faster than the overall economy. We are essentially operating in a world where machines are able to perform the same technical skills as us. And often more efficiently. 

One thing machines can’t take away from us though is the ability to be (truly) personable. Which is great news as customer-facing roles are becoming more important than ever. 

The ability to easily interact with customers in a friendly way is vital for increasing customer loyalty and retention. 

We asked 500 SME and startup business owners what the most important skills for a fast-growing business are and nearly half said communication skills.

But more than a third of these companies struggle to find candidates with the necessary soft skills. With a shift in the working world, hiring people with good communication skills (as well as a great attention to detail) is becoming a necessity to remain successful.

How do you spot the diamond in the rough? 

So, how do we find out whether people have great communication skills? We’ve put together a list of five ways to assess candidates. 

  1. Look beyond the CV and interview. Employers always put ‘great communication skills’ in a job description, so guess what, candidates always put that exact thing in their CV too. Every single engagement with a candidate reveals their communication skills; not just the interview. Pay attention to emails, phone calls, and even how someone acts when signing in with the receptionist in your office. 
  2. Observe how they listen. ‘The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said’ said Peter Drucker. Having good communication skills also involve the ability to listen. Ask questions to check if they are really listening to you or whether they just like the sound of their own voice. 
  3. Do they have a side-hustle? Strong communication skills develop over time and through experiencing different things. Dig around and keep an eye out for candidates that have more to them than just their past job. These candidates have put themselves out there and are bound to have learnt a thing or two about how to communicate. 
  4. Ask behavioural questions. Questions such as ‘What was the most significant conflict you have had with a colleague?’ and ‘How did you resolve it?’ will help you identify scenarios where they had to communicate effectively to get a positive outcome. 
  5. Body language. The impact of verbal communication is 55% down to body language. Look out for things such as strong eye contact, smiling and leaning towards you. They are indicators of someone that can communicate well – not just through what is said but through what is not said. 

Meet the Masters of More 

Side hustles. The gig economy. Job hopping. Careers are changing, and the way people think about work is too. 

We spend 90,000 hours of life at work. They say it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. You do the math. If you harness your time you can learn, hone and master nine skills throughout your career. Who do you want to be?

Throughout nine weeks we dive into nine soft skills in high demand by employers. We introduce candidates who are nailing this new world of work. Meet the Masters of More.