If technical or “soft” skills are the superstars of a job seeker’s candidacy, soft skills are the unsung heroes that lead to championship titles. And while technical skills may get all the glory during the hiring process, soft skills distinguish a candidate who is merely proficient from one who has the potential to make meaningful workplace contributions. Read on to learn more about why you should move soft skills to the top of your list of desirable characteristic during the hiring process.
Hard Skills Vs. Soft Skills
A job candidate’s skills can be divided into two subsets: hard and soft. The former are quantifiable and teachable, such as computer programming, typing speed, and foreign language proficiency. These skills often take center stage on a resume or job application and may be the first thing a recruiter uses to identify top talent within the applicant pool.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are harder to quantify. Also known as “people skills,” these pertain to how a job candidate interacts with others.
The best hiring managers know that while technical skills demonstrate what candidates can do, soft skills demonstrate a candidate’s personal characteristics. While these skills may be less tangible than “hard,” skills, they’re arguably even more important. Why? Because they represent the full spectrum of a person’s capabilities. While technical skills can be learned, soft skills are largely innate, although they can be honed and refined through a combination of experience and effort.
Why Soft Skills Matter
Would you rather lead a department full of individuals or teammates? The former requires only technical skills to function; the latter also mandates the presence of interpersonal skills. Discounting the importance of ability to work with others can be disastrous in the workplace. Meanwhile, seeking out candidates with strong interpersonal skills can add exponential value to your team.
Other soft skills worth taking into account during the hiring process? Communication, active listening, critical thinking, time management skills, professionalism, and adaptability.
One word that is commonly used to describe people with strong soft skills? Likability. While this one may not make your off-the-cuff list of desirable applicant traits on paper, in reality it’s a critical attribute when it comes to playing well with others in the workplace.
Soft skills are more important than ever in the 21st century collaboration-driven business world. And while some workers in the most technical jobs can get by with programming in a vacuum, most jobs require interaction with others. Even if a position is largely independent, everyone benefits from information exchange and dialog.
The Skills That Keep On Giving
Certain hard skills are finite. While mastery may be necessary for the job at hand, are they applicable to other types of work that may arise in the workplace?
Alternatively, soft skills are transferable. Whatever the project or task at hand, these personality traits seamlessly transition with the employee.
So how do you identify soft skills? In some cases, a person’s ability to relate to others comes shining through in the interview. Additionally, many hiring managers rely on competency-based interview questions to determine anything from flexibility to communication skills. In this kind of interview, applicants are asked to provide specific examples of instances when their behavior showed a particular attitude or skill. Hiring managers can glean essential insights into a candidate’s soft skills during this process.
Ultimately, it takes more than technical skill to succeed in the business world. Hiring managers set on identifying talent with true leadership potential can differentiate the ordinary from the extraordinary by prioritizing soft skills alongside technical mastery. MatchRecruiter can help you cast the biggest net when it comes to finding talent with equal parts of both. Click here, to learn more.