How To Assess A Candidate’s Communication Skills

Regardless of the role the candidate is applying for, you are unlikely to find a CV that does not proclaim “excellent communication skills” or “good command over English”.
It is evident that most jobseekers recognise the importance of speaking English, and of speaking it well. Jobseekers also recognise that this is a fairly important selection criterion for recruiters. However, what they fail to see is that there is a difference between language skills (speaking and writing the language fluently) and communication skills (having something to say and being able to communicate it to others effectively).

Related: How to choose the best job portal for hiring candidates

Because there is a very little in common between knowing the (English) language and being an effective communicator, it is not surprising that many people who know the English language well– they speak and write it with utmost fluency– are very poor communicators. They fail to get their point across to other people in a simple and effective way. In a country like India where English is not the native language, this problem is an even greater one. It is only after the jobseekers learn English well can they get to the point of being able to use it to communicate effectively.

Most jobs today rely heavily on good communication. Effective communication is unarguably the prerequisite for any kind of work-related success. Here’s what recruiters can do when trying to assess the candidate’s communication skills.

– Observe the candidate’s body language: Body language is an integral part of good communication. Non-verbal cues can tell you a lot about how good the candidate is at getting his/her point across. Maintaining eye contact, using hand gestures in appropriate measure, listening attentively, etc. are good indicators. Moreover, take note of the candidate’s response styles (in addition to the responses themselves). You can gauge whether the candidate sounds confident, assertive, unsure, etc.

– Ask in-depth and open-ended questions: Pick your interview questions carefully. In addition to the essentials that you must go over during the interview process, throw in a few open-ended questions that will call for the candidate to think through things, make comparisons and references, and process his/her thoughts and ideas before expressing them.

Related: Hiring 101-Don’t get swayed by first impressions!

– Opt for pre-screened candidates: The CV is essentially an untrustworthy documents. It makes all kinds of claims. Go for pre-screened candidates and save on the cost and time spent on hiring. On, you can hire candidates based on their SmartProfile™ (a CV++) that is a verified document capturing the candidate’s key skills and other behavioural data.

When looking to hire the ideal candidate, look out for good communication skills before other things.

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