Having Social-Emotional Skills Means Connecting with People
A Square, Inc executive talks about what he's looking for in an ideal employee
I received 500 resumes during the past three weeks for one position at my technology company. Many are from impressive professionals with the kind of STEM skills that people need to succeed in this industry. I think a lot of candidates would be surprised though, to know what we’re really looking for when they come in for interviews.
Having social-emotional skills and being able to connect with people is key. Our business thrives because we develop products that enable small businesses to meet unique customer needs. That requires us to listen carefully to the challenges they face, and work together across our organization to meet those challenges.
People are often nervous when interviewing, so I try to help them relax and understand what kind of social-emotional skills they have. I ask them, “Can you give me an example, where you had an issue you didn’t know how to solve, and how you brought together other perspectives to come up with a solution?”
One of the key things I’m trying to assess is an applicant’s ability to listen–an ability that people begin to develop through quality early childhood education
And then I ask how they managed their emotions when the going got tough. One of the key things I’m trying to assess is their ability to listen—an ability that people begin to develop through quality early childhood education.
I have a 15-year-old and a 3-year-old, and I want them to not only listen to me, but ensure I listen to them. As I’ve watched them grow up with technology, I’ve wanted them to respect others, be comfortable asking questions and to learn how to respond when they find out they’re wrong. These are the kinds of abilities you’ll see experienced teachers developing when you step into a high-quality preschool. In doing so, they’re giving kids a true leg up toward a future career with great companies just like mine.