Reasons New Hires Don’t Always Work

March 8, 2023 – While companies are looking for very specific profiles when hiring in the financial services and fintech industry, studies have shown that hard skills are not the main reason that new hires were unsuccessful, according to a report from Right Executive Search (RES)’s Elisa Sheftic

In fact, according to Leadership IQ, 89 percent of people working within recruitment stated that when new hires don’t work out for a company, it’s often due to a lack of soft skills. In a new report, Right Executive Search takes a look at the importance of these skills for recruiting and retaining talent:

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

What’s the difference between hard and soft skills? The Right Executive Search report explains that hard skills will be specific to the industry and role, involving knowledge, training and experience with particular functions or tools. “In financial services and fintech, for example, these could include mathematics knowledge and aptitude, IT skills with particular systems or programs, and/or experience with analytics and risk analysis,” the search firm said. “Hard skills are considered to be those skills which you can learn, and they often form the basis of requirements for job applications.”

On the other hand, soft skills are considered to be personality traits or interpersonal skills, which can be harder to list on your resume or showcase during an interview. These include communication, emotional intelligence (EQ), leadership ability, a strong work ethic, and decision-making skills.

Why are Soft Skills so Critical?

Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center conducted research that concluded that 85 percent of success within a job comes from soft skills – and only 15 percent is due to technical or hard skills.

“Actually, experts have known this going back to 1918, when similar studies focused on engineers and their extensive technical training,” the Right Executive Search report said. “They found these technical skills were not the key to success in a highly technical field. The more recent studies cover a broader career spectrum, but reach the same conclusion.”

When starting at a company in a new role, soft skills such as coachability, emotional intelligence, and motivation are often far more important than technical competency, according to the Right Executive Search report. “As the majority of hard skills can be learned over time with some basic ability and training, a positive attitude, the willingness to learn the needed skills and processes, and the ability to work with others as well as independently are essential,” the study said. “Competition for talent today is fierce, and these soft skills can be what sets one candidate apart from another.”

Related: Crisis Management: Leading in Times of Great Uncertainty

Whether you need to be able to engage in small talk with potential clients or manage projects to a very tight schedule, soft skills come into play in almost any role in any field, according the Right Executive Search report. The firm notes that even within more technical roles, as in fintech and financial services industries, the search for accompanying soft skills is growing.

Burning Glass Technologies, using artificial intelligence technology analyzing millions of job postings and real-life career transitions to provide insight into U.S. labor market patterns, noticed that over 25 percent of the requirements in job postings were based around soft skills. Right Executive Search says that one would think they would be mentioned considerably more given their importance in making a successful hire.

Essential Leadership Skills for Challenging Times
As the economy continues its rapid transition toward automation, the customer experience field requires strong leadership to keep customers engaged. Soft skills, such as communication and emotional intelligence, will be the skills that set the best leaders apart from the mediocre, according to a new report by Christopher Rios of Blue Rock Search.

Many experienced job applicants can still be deficient in EQ — a learned ability to explain, understand and express human emotions in healthy and productive ways, according to the Right Executive Search report. Can you disagree in a meeting without being disagreeable? Can you accept and learn from constructive feedback?

“Social skills and professionalism have never been more important and can and should be actively screened for by the recruiter and hiring manager,” the search firm said. “Obviously, hiring the right person cannot be guaranteed. However, identifying what soft skills are critical to success in an organization and developing specific interview questions to gauge those skills, will certainly increase the odds that your hire will be successful long term.”

Proven Search Firm

Right Executive Search is a woman-owned, boutique executive search firm that specializes in placing professionals in the financial services, financial technology (fintech), and professional services industries. Its primary geographic focus is the New York metropolitan tri-state area (New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut), but they also have a strong national presence as well. The firm has built strong and trusted relationships with both Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller and rapidly growing firms.

Ms. Sheftic is the president and managing partner of Right Executive Search. Her expertise is placing mid- to C-level executives in the financial technology (fintech) and financial services industries. Ms. Sheftic communicates with human resources, hiring managers, and candidates on a daily basis and offers insights to clients and candidates on recruiting best practices.

Related: Skills Gap Points to Why We Need to Invest in People

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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