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Beyond Job Skills and Experience: Interview for Soft Skills

Beyond Job Skills and Experience: Interview for Soft Skills

Estate Managers are tasked with a unique responsibility not only to oversee the daily operations of an estate, but to build a staff that works well together and fits into the culture of the home. When it comes to hiring it’s essential to look beyond traditional skills and experience. Specific focus should be on attributes known as “soft skills.” These qualities encompass one’s personality, attitude, flexibility, motivation, and manners, and they play a vital role in maintaining a harmonious and productive household atmosphere.

Soft Skills Defined

Soft skills are a set of interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies that enable individuals to navigate their workplace effectively. Unlike hard skills, which are directly related to job-specific technicalities, soft skills pertain to qualities that are universally valuable across all professions.

One such skill is communication. Effective communication is paramount in any role within a household staff. Staff members must interact with various individuals, including homeowners, guests, colleagues, and vendors. Clear and polite communication, both verbal and written, is crucial to ensuring that everyone’s needs are met and conflicts are avoided. Moreover, being a good listener, empathetically understanding others, and responding appropriately is equally vital.

Another essential soft skill is critical thinking. Critical thinking is the ability to analyze situations, identify problems, and make informed decisions. In a household, whether dealing with intricate scheduling, managing unexpected issues, or anticipating the needs of the homeowners, staff must exhibit creativity, flexibility, and curiosity to tackle challenges efficiently.

Leadership is another important soft skill. While not everyone on the household staff may be in a leadership role, Estate Managers should seek employees who can manage situations and people effectively. Leadership qualities are invaluable when it comes to resolving conflicts, making executive decisions, and ensuring the smooth operation of the estate.

The atmosphere in a household greatly depends on the staff’s ability to maintain a positive attitude. The fast-paced, high-stress nature of a high-net-worth household necessitates staff who are friendly, enthusiastic, and cooperative. A cheerful demeanor goes a long way in creating an effective and trusted team.

In households with multiple staff members, the ability to work effectively with others is crucial. It’s essential that staff can collaborate, accept feedback, and recognize and appreciate the diversity within the team. This enables the estate to run smoothly, even when differences arise.

Maintaining a strong work ethic should be a  prerequisite for any household staff member. Punctuality, focus, and organization are paramount for tasks such as adhering to schedules, ensuring attention to detail, and following through on responsibilities.

Ultimately, soft skills are the glue that holds everything together. While hard skills are essential, it’s the soft skills that make the difference between a capable employee and one who truly excels in their role. Estate Managers should prioritize the evaluation of these attributes during the hiring process to ensure that the staff fits seamlessly into the culture of the home, facilitating not only efficient operations but also the creation of a warm and welcoming environment. It’s these often intangible qualities that can turn a good household into an exceptional one, fostering lasting satisfaction for the homeowners and staff alike.


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