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The Importance of Soft Skills in the Healthcare Profession

 
iCIMS Staff
May 26, 2022

There’s a difference between knowing how to operate an MRI scanner and knowing how to deliver the results to a patient. Not everyone knows how to work an MRI. That’s a hard skill. Being able to read the results is also a hard skill. Both can be learned with the right training and experience.  

Knowing how to deliver those results with clarity and empathy? That’s a soft skill. It’s harder to define soft skills because they’re things most of us can do, just not at the same level. Experience, mentorship, and having the right outlook can help employees improve their soft skills – but it’s difficult to train for them by reading a manual or attending a workshop. 

That’s why it’s fundamentally important to hire candidates with strong soft skills, especially in the healthcare industry. That goes double right now, as career changes, pandemic fatigue, and early retirements over the last few years have exacerbated a staffing shortage.  

It’s easy to overlook soft skills when you’re operating with a skeleton crew. Soft skills like adaptability, teamwork, and a good bedside manner are needed now more than ever. Read on for what to look for. 

Check out our Top 100 interview questions to assess for soft skills. 

 

The top soft skills required in healthcare

Good communication

The ability to make yourself understood is key in healthcare, whether you’re talking through a diagnosis or reconciling invoices with an insurance company. Candidates should be able to communicate well with team members in different roles and with different communication styles to their own. Clarity, empathy, and professionalism are all key here.  

Teamwork

Healthcare is a collaborative, mission-driven industry. The best candidates will be those who can show a history of success working in teams and in group settings. In an industry where burnout is high, it’s important that candidates are aligned to the mission and values of your organization.  

Adaptability 

The healthcare industry is fast-paced and dynamic. Successful candidates will be those who can adapt to rapid changes without missing a beat. This might mean taking on new responsibilities or challenging situations at a moment’s notice. Candidates should also demonstrate the ability to be cool under pressure and remain clearheaded as challenging situations arise. 

Empathy

In a service-oriented industry like healthcare, understanding and respecting patients is vitally important. Healthcare professionals should be sensitive to patient needs and develop meaningful relationships to promote a sense of trust and respect. Healthcare employees should also show empathy towards colleagues, acknowledging that some days are harder than others and that operating short-handed is difficult in the best of times. 

Time management

Knowing how to manage one’s time is important for healthcare employees, especially if they’re juggling multiple responsibilities. Prioritizing workload and executing multiple tasks at the same time goes a long way. Candidates should also demonstrate the ability to quickly reprioritize due to last-minute scheduling adjustments or unforeseen events.   

 

How to assess healthcare candidates for soft skills

Identifying soft skills can be tough, especially when you have a limited amount of time in an interview. The right questions can help you have a deeper, more revealing discussion with your candidate. For more on that, check out our guide to top 100 interview questions that identify soft skills by clicking the banner below. 

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