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Soft Skills - An essential tool for selecting and placing personnel

The most important resource you have in your business is your personnel. Imagine coming to work tomorrow and there is no staff….

That would be really bad!

Some executives have a love/hate relationship with their staff. Some feel like a servant to them. Some feel bullied by them. Some have a feeling that they are working against them and… Some have a great, trusting relationship with them!

Actually, most business owners I know go through ALL these phases at some point!

Your personnel are composed of individuals. Each with their own visions, goals, mindset, their own experiential track, skills set, and views on things. Each has their weaknesses and their strengths.

As an executive or a business owner, you need to somehow put a team together to get some work done. As I mentioned in my previous podcast, your personnel actually buy you the additional hours you need to get the job done.

If you have to spend 1 hour a day reviewing and redoing the work, one of your staff is “performing” for you then I am sure you agree that you are not getting your money’s worth. Or if you have to spend 2 hours handling two staff that are upset because another told them he got a raise and now the other two also want one. That’s 4 hours wasted handling something that should have never happened – half a day! If you pay each staff $25/hour then that’s $100 plus your time!

So having a staff that work well together is a must! There can be so much disruption in a business without having to create more internally! I am sure you agree with that.

What are the qualities of a good staff member?

That really depends on the position they are filling. Here is what I mean by that: I, personally, would not do well in a bookkeeping position. I love talking to people, solve problems, sales, and marketing. If you put me in a room with a computer, a bunch of receipts and an accounting software, I would probably go crazy! For sure, I would be unhappy and miserable. That negativity will translate in my body language and probably in my verbal communication with the other co-workers. I would be DE-motivated.

I have a few good friends of mine who absolutely love getting to work in the morning and doing bookkeeping! Bless them because I need this type of person to do that work.

All in all, an understanding of what soft skills are required for a particular job play a crucial role in finding the right person for it.

Soft skills are defined as interpersonal skills or people skills, are a set of personal attributes and qualities that enable individuals to interact effectively with others, communicate well, and navigate various social and professional situations. These are:

Communication: The ability to convey ideas, thoughts, and information clearly and effectively, both verbally and in writing. This includes active listening, non-verbal communication, and the ability to adapt communication style to different audiences.

Collaboration: The capacity to work harmoniously with others in a team or group setting, share responsibilities, and contribute to collective goals. Collaboration also involves empathy, compromise, and the ability to resolve conflicts.

Adaptability: The flexibility to adjust to changing circumstances, learn new skills, and handle unexpected challenges. Adaptability is crucial in today's rapidly changing work environments.

Problem-solving: The skill to analyze complex issues, identify solutions, and make informed decisions. Critical thinking and creativity play a significant role in problem-solving.

Time management: The ability to prioritize tasks, set goals, and efficiently allocate time to meet deadlines and accomplish objective.

Leadership: The capacity to inspire and guide others, make decisions, and take responsibility for a group's direction or project's success. Leadership also involves effective delegation and decision-making.

Emotional intelligence: The ability to recognize, understand, and manage one's own emotions and the emotions of others. This skill is crucial for building strong relationships, empathizing with others, and resolving conflicts.

Networking: Building and maintaining relationships with people who can provide support, advice, and opportunities in both personal and professional contexts.

Conflict resolution: The ability to address and resolve disagreements or disputes in a constructive and collaborative manner, aiming for mutually beneficial outcomes.

Interpersonal skills: The ability to build and maintain positive relationships, connect with others, and establish rapport. This includes skills like active listening, empathy, and effective communication.

The trick is that some soft skills are more key in is a position than another.

For example: The soft skills you are looking for in a salesperson would be communication, networking, interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and conflict resolution to name a few.

On another hand, a bookkeeper would require collaboration, problem-solving, adaptability, and time management as crucial to be able to hold the position well.

Soft skills can be taught but these require more effort in time and money. When looking for someone to fill a position, I always isolate what are the 3 or 4 top soft skills required to be able to perform well on that job and my questions during an interview would be directed toward finding if the applicant possesses those soft skills.

Make a checklist of these 10 items with a number between 1 and 10 for their importance for the position. When interviewing an applicant, grade the person on each one of those. This will rapidly tell you who would be good for that position and who should not be hired.

Put these to the test during the interview.

For example: If you really want to know if the applicant possesses skills in conflict resolution, pick something that the person said and disagree with it. Keep it light of course! And observe how they deal with it.

Another example: You can spot interpersonal skills just by observing if the person is naturally interested in other, your company, or you. If the person only talks about themselves and doesn’t show a genuine interested in your needs, then you know that person doesn’t have interpersonal skills because a rapport is built be being interested in others and the back and forth.

By getting the personnel with the soft skills matching closely what the position requires, you drastically increase your chances of retention and success for that person, the team, and the whole company. The strength of an organization depends on the strength of each team member.

Contact us at if you want more information on this subject or assistance in finding the right staff.


Philippe Dubreuil,

CEO and Founder of Results & Productivity Management Consulting Inc.



Cell: 416-559-9063

Office: (519) 622-3055

46 Anglerock Dr, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada L1T 1L8 

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