Resumes & Cover Letters

Examples of Talent and Skills in the Workplace

March 1, 2021

When searching for someone to fill your position, you want to find a candidate with the right skills and talent. That's why it's so important to define what a skilled and talented candidate would look like for your company. By assessing these attributes, you can pick the most qualified person for the job. In this article, we look at the differences between talent vs. skills, explain how to spot a talented candidate and share examples of talent and skills.

Related: Guide for Developing a Talent Strategy

Talent vs. skills

While many people use the terms talent and skills interchangeably, these two words have slightly different meanings. Talent tends to come to people more naturally while a skill is something that you acquire with practice and effort. You tend to accumulate your talent with little thought or effort while gaining skills is much more intentional. For instance, a talent would be if someone has a nice singing voice. A skill would be if they learned how to sing specific notes, which would require some training and background knowledge.

Related: What Is Talent Management (Includes Processes and Strategies for Effective Talent Management)

How to spot talent in an interview

Managers and human resource representatives need to put a lot of effort into the hiring process in order to find the best talent. When interviewing candidates, you can tell they have true talent with these steps:

1. Define what you are looking for

Prior to interviewing candidates, reflect on what kind of talent you need for your role. Make sure to include these particular requirements in your job posting to attract more relevant candidates to your role. Create a list of wants and needs for your ideal candidates so that you can narrow down who is going to fit into your role. Know which talents are a must for a candidate to have and which would be a nice bonus.

2. Ask thoughtful questions

Plan what questions you're going to ask candidates in advance. Make sure to cater the questions to the particular job they are applying for so that you can envision how they might function in this role. You can also ask more general questions to learn more about their strengths and abilities. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • What are your strengths?
  • What value can you add to our team?
  • Why are you qualified for this role?
  • What is your greatest accomplishment?
  • What comes easily to you?
  • What do you find challenging?

Related: 30 Common Talent Acquisition Interview Questions

3. Use a working interview

While asking interview questions can help you learn a lot about a candidate, one way to test their talents is to have them complete a working interview. This is where you ask them to complete a task that they might be doing in the role you are looking to fill. For instance, if you are filling a writing position, you can ask applicants to complete a writing test or to produce a piece of content. Having them do actual tests can help you gauge their true talent are learn what they are capable of doing.

Related: What to Expect at a Working Interview

4. Leave time for questions

Use the end of the interview as a chance for your candidates to ask you questions. This is your chance to learn more about their personality and talents. Try to get a conversation going to see why the candidate is interested in your role. This can give you more insight into what they are capable of and what they hope to accomplish working for your company. Some smart questions a candidate can ask include:

  • Are there opportunities for growth in this role?
  • How might I be able to develop my skills in this position?
  • Does management encourage employees to try new things?
  • Will I have a chance to share my knowledge with others?

Related: 17 Best Questions to Ask Your Interviewer (With Video Examples)

5. Contact references

Once you narrow down your top candidates, ask them for two or three professional references. Make an effort to contact each reference before you make your hiring decision. Ask them about the applicant's skills and talents. See what kind of projects they have worked on in the past. Likewise, get to know what value they added to their previous companies. If a candidate has a few strong resources to vouch for them, this could be a good sign that they are a quality employee.

6. Use a second interview

If you are finding it challenging to choose between two talented candidates, ask each one to come in for a final interview. During this interview, you can ask them more extensive questions to gauge their talents. You may even ask them to work in the role for a few hours to see how they perform. This is a great chance for you to get all the information you need to hire the most talented candidate for the position.

Examples of talent and skills

When determining the right candidate for your role, you need to assess their skills and talents. While these terms are similar, keep in mind that talent comes naturally while skills are learned. In many cases, these talents and skills can overlap since for some people they come easily and while other people must actively work on them. Here are some examples of talent and skills in the workplace:

Talent

Learn what talents to look for in candidates:

Communication

Some people have the natural ability to effortlessly communicate with others. This talent is important for many roles, as it's key that your team member can clearly convey their thoughts and ideas. When looking for a candidate, use your interview questions to learn more about their verbal and written communication abilities.

Creativity

Creativity is a valuable talent for a candidate to have, especially for roles like graphic design, copywriting and creative direction. While creativity serves artistic roles, it can really be helpful for any profession that requires innovative thinking and problem-solving. When someone is creatively talented, they may be able to find unique solutions to an everyday problem. They also may have a more novel way of looking at things, which can be beneficial for your company.

Inspiring

Those who have positive attitudes tend to be quite inspirational in the workplace. If you are looking to boost your employee morale and improve your work environment, you may want to find an inspiring candidate. This is someone who is enjoyable to be around and influences others to do better. Those with this talent tend to strive for success, have a positive outlook on life and create goals for themselves.

Negotiating

While some people may see negotiating as a challenge, others see it as an exciting opportunity. Many roles require candidates to have strong negotiation talents. If you find a candidate very persuasive and charismatic, they may have a natural talent for negotiating. After all, much of the interview process involves negotiation, especially when discussing things like benefits and salary.

Networking

Some professionals have a natural inclination to connect with others. Networking can be a favorable talent, especially in a sales or business development role. Having an employee who can effortlessly make meaningful connections with clients, vendors and business contacts can be quite beneficial. Networking can open your company up to exciting new opportunities.

Skills

Learn what skills to look for in candidates:

Business savvy

The inner workings of a business can be quite complicated. When hiring someone for a business-related role, you need someone with strong business skills. Oftentimes, candidates learn these skills through business programs or work experience. This often includes a candidate's ability to manage accounts, meet with clients, make sales, keep track of finances and oversee business growth.

Computer skills

While some people have a natural talent for using computers, many of the functions of computers require learned skills. For instance, if you want to hire a computer programmer, you're going to need to find someone with specific programming and coding skills. Likewise, when hiring a social media specialist, you're going to look for someone who has experience using specific social media platforms and technology.

Customer service

Providing excellent customer service takes practice. Candidates with this skill know how to anticipate a customer's needs, which requires experience in a customer service role. When looking for a candidate with customer service skills, assess their ability to problem solve and actively listen. While things like empathy and interpersonal skills come naturally, providing true customer service takes skill.

Management

If you are an HR professional looking to hire a manager for one of your teams, then you need to find a candidate with management skills. This is someone who can effectively delegate tasks, plan projects, make decisions, facilitate communication and lead their team to success. While their leadership skills may come naturally, being an effective manager requires experience and practice. There is a lot to learn in this kind of leadership role, so looking for a manager who is eager to learn is important.

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