The Recruitment Roundup: Trends, Insights, and Industry News

The Recruitment Roundup: Trends, Insights, and Industry News

Unlocking Sales Success: ECA's Guide to Assessing Soft Skills


In the hiring process, Sales Managers typically prioritize a candidate's sales records, technical skills, and industry experience. However, it's essential not to overlook the "soft" skills, which can be transformative in sales.

Soft skills, including emotional intelligence, communication abilities, adaptability, grit and problem-solving capabilities, play a significant role in a candidate's success in sales. Strong soft skills enable a candidate to build effective relationships with clients and colleagues, handle challenging situations, and employ creative thinking to close deals.

Behavioral interviewing is one method to assess a candidate's soft skills. This approach involves posing open-ended questions that prompt candidates to share specific examples of their past behavior and how they handled various situations. For instance, a sales manager might inquire about a time when a candidate successfully managed a difficult client, providing valuable insights into their communication skills.

Another effective technique for evaluating soft skills is through role-playing scenarios. These exercises allow candidates to showcase their real-time problem-solving and communication skills. For instance, a sales manager could create a scenario where a candidate negotiates a deal with a challenging customer.

The ability to discern emotional intelligence is instrumental when recruiting your next sales representative. Emotional intelligence pertains to one's capacity to understand and manage their own emotions, as well as the emotions of those around them - a key aspect of successful sales. Questions could explore how the candidate handles failure, their approach to dealing with difficult customers, or how they process and respond to criticism. Their responses would offer an insight into their resilience, empathy, self-awareness, and capability to maintain composure under pressure, which are vital soft skills in the sales sector.

Additionally, reference checks serve as a valuable tool for gauging soft skills. Former employers and colleagues can offer insights into a candidate's teamwork, leadership, and conflict resolution skills, aspects not immediately apparent in an interview setting.

In conclusion, the assessment of soft skills in potential sales candidates involves a multifaceted approach, including behavioral interviewing, role-playing scenarios, and reference checks. This holistic method empowers hiring managers to identify candidates possessing both the technical competencies required for a sales role and the invaluable soft skills essential for navigating the complex and dynamic world of sales.