Communication is one of the most excellent tools your company employees can have. Working with coworkers or dealing with customers efficiently requires the ability to communicate clearly. Communication skills need more than understanding a particular language. Excellent skills include not only verbal but non-verbal communication. The best time to address communication skills is during the hiring process. Let’s take a more in-depth look into the subject.
Segment Your Applicants With Communication Skills
Interviews are the best place to start assessing a potential employee’s communication skills. You will find that in technical fields, those with exceptional communication abilities will stand out. Specialized areas are also a place where these skills can be most helpful, especially with clients. Look for some of these different types of communication skills in your candidates.
Kinds Of Communication Skills
Communication comes in many forms. The majority of people can handle one type reasonably well, but the more types of communication a candidate can handle, the more valuable they will be overall to your business.
Emails, correspondence, technical writing, and speech writing are all forms of written communication. Look for someone who can confidently handle the technical language of your business, but there is something much more important. The best candidate is someone who can take that understanding and put it in terms that are easily understood by someone who is not necessarily familiar with the language of the business. The real test of knowledge is to be able to explain something in terms a child can understand. You may not want to go that far, but ask yourself if the candidate can make things understandable to the average adult.
Verbal skills are the most often used. In this category, look for more than spoken words. Consider things like tone of voice, volume, clarity, and ability to know when to stop talking and listen. Verbal communication is easy to evaluate during an interview.
Direct and Informational Answers
Applicants with verbal communication skills can answer your questions succinctly and effectively. They won’t have to break down their answer, and you won’t sit there wondering what they are saying. A direct response will answer the question you have asked and not talk around it. The answer won’t be too wordy. The information you receive should be enough to answer your question fully, but not so much you wonder why they are providing the additional information.
Nonverbal communication is different from written communication. Often, you can learn more by understanding what a person is conveying nonverbally than you can by listening to their spoken words. Nonverbal language comes from a subconscious level.
There is a lot of information out there on body language. If you are someone who hires people, you will benefit significantly by learning the basics. Body language can give you insight into what a person is thinking and feeling. It can show if a person is entirely truthful. It can tell you if they are nervous or very confident, open or closed, and much more.
A person who is adept at understanding body language is also a great communicator. There are ways a person well-versed in body language can help defuse even the worst situations.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand your own emotions. Emotional intelligence also determines how well you communicate your feelings, and if you can easily control them. Five components go into making up emotional intelligence. They are:
A person with high emotional intelligence not only understands acceptable social behaviors but can also follow the difference between such things as frustration and anger. A skilled person will know how to handle anger properly and will understand how to see things from another person’s perspective.
Clarity and Concision
A person who can get from point A to point B in a conversation without taking side trips to Points C and D along the way is someone who understands the importance of clear, concise speech. Both of these traits are necessary for excellent communication.
Most people don’t listen. These people are too busy trying to jump ahead and think about what they are going to say next. Excellent communication requires good listening. A person who is a good listener will show interest in what you are saying, be able to answer any questions directly, and will be quick to catch any subject changes you make.
You don’t want someone who tries to impress you with their use of big words, but you also don’t want someone who speaks like they are talking to a two-year-old. Look for word choices but also look to see if the person uses correct grammar, resorts to slang, or seems confused when you talk.
Does your potential employee act like he knows it all? Does he seem too eager to please? Both of these things can be warning signs of someone who can’t communicate well. You want someone willing to work with others, but if one person always agrees with a second person, then one of them is not necessary. A person who thinks they know everything won’t be willing to learn or take advice. A person like this can cause conflict quickly among your staff.
Reconciliation and Conflict Management
It is crucial to hire employees who understand how to reconcile disagreements. Conflict resolution ability can be challenging to discern completely during an interview, but with a couple of well-directed questions, you can get some idea. Try asking about situations that may come up that can cause conflict and ask how the candidate would handle such a situation. You can also ask for examples of times they have had to deal with conflict in the past. Find out how the case turned out.
Most candidates for employment will show the interviewer respect, but that doesn’t mean they will show everyone that same respect. Without respect, communication goes out the window. If you must stay in the office, find a way to observe how they treat the receptionist and other staff members they may pass in the building. If possible, arrange a lunch or coffee interview so you can watch how the person treats a waitress, how they treat someone coming in a door behind them, etc. Good manners are often a good indication of respect.
One of the most significant traits of someone good at conflict management is open-mindedness. Look for things like willingness to listen to opposing opinions with respect and no extreme emotion. Empathy is also a part of this. Can the person see things from the perspective of someone entirely different than them? Look for body language clues when you mention controversial subjects or other cultures. Disagree with the person and watch the reaction.
Look For Leadership Potential
You could hire a warm body to fill a position. There are plenty of people out there looking for a job. But do you want just a warm body? Not if you care about seeing your business succeed and grow. Look for people who could one day potentially take over the company and run it as efficiently as you do. Hire people who are potential leaders.
Excellent communication is the basis of good leadership. Find a person who can communicate well both verbally and nonverbally. Look for qualities such as respect and open-mindedness and search for signs of good emotional intelligence. The more traits you can tick off, the better the chances you have of hiring someone who will be a great employee and will stick around long enough to make the effort worthwhile.
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