When conducting an interview, or creating a job description, it’s common to formulate a of list of the skills that your ideal candidate will possess.
Traditionally, hard skills have been seen as more essential to how a person would perform in a role, and were therefore prioritised over soft skills, which were deemed to be too “fuzzy”. However, this norm is quickly being turned on its head, as hiring managers begin to recognise the importance of soft skills. A 2016 study from Wonderlic found that 93% of employers said soft skills are either an “essential” or “very important” factor in hiring decisions.
Soft skills are the inherent characteristics or skills that make up an individuals personality traits. Such traits or skills include: communication, collaboration, sociability, emotional intelligence and cognitive thinking. In respect to the working environment, soft skills demonstrate what a candidate will bring to a role from a personality perspective and their ability to interact and work with others.
More and more, businesses are moving towards a people-oriented approach. Culture add is becoming increasingly important to both employees and employers. A Columbia University study revealed that the likelihood of job turnover at an organisation with high company culture is a mere 14%, whereas the probability of job turnover in low company cultures is 48%.
As well as this, companies are placing greater emphasis on collaborative-based work. A Harvard Business Review study found that the time managers and employees spend on collaborative activities has increased by more than 50% in the past 20 years.
The Mckinsey Global Institute Workforce Skills Model predicts that automation and A.I. will accelerate the shift in skills that the workforce needs, and by 2030, the number of hours worked using cognitive skills and social and emotional skills will greatly increase.
In fact, its research suggests that the demand for higher cognitive skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, decision making, and complex information processing, will grow through 2030 by as much as 14% in Europe.
This changing business landscape means that what employers are looking for is changing too. It’s now more important than ever that employees possess the interpersonal skills to effectively relate to both co-workers, and clients. Soft skills may be harder to quantify, but they are now arguably even more important than their more technical counterparts.
While it is relatively straightforward to test someone’s hard skills, soft skills are a little more tricky to detect. Below we’ve rounded some of the best ways to determine if your candidate has the soft skills you’re looking for.
In a more traditional interview setting, following these suggestions from The Surprising Power of Questions can also help to assess a candidate’s soft skills:
As we have seen, soft skills are vitally important in the modern workplace. However, an ideal candidate should have a good mix of hard and soft skills. Attract the talent you want by making sure to outline both hard and soft skills in your job descriptions, and as much as possible, try to discard bias in interviews and keep an open mind about all candidates.
While it may seem that soft skills are something inherent, which a candidate either has or doesn't have, it’s important to remember that both hard and soft skills can be taught. Leadership, communication and time management are all things which a candidate can learn on the job, through training and mentorship.
Though diametrically different, ultimately hard skills and soft skills can and should complement and enhance each other. A person who is great at communicating but lacks basic job requirements may be looked over in favour of other more experienced candidates. Likewise, a person who is difficult to be around, isn’t likely to make it very far in any job, no matter how technically proficient.
Next time you’re creating a job description, or interviewing a potential candidate, remember to keep in mind both hard and soft skills. This is essential to help you find the best suited and most well rounded employee for your business.
Occupop recruitment software company that wants to help you effectively screen for all types of skills while making your hiring process faster, easier and stress-free. With the help of AI technology, Occupop can help you effectively screen for soft skills during the recruitment process and greatly reduce your recruitment admin, time and costs. We’ll post your job descriptions across 20+ recruitment channels, score and filter your CVs, and give your hiring team the tools to keep up with this rapidly-changing industry.
Visit www.occupop.com to learn more today!
Why Change From Focusing on Hard Skills to Soft Skills?
Research suggests that the demand for higher cognitive skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, decision making, and complex information processing, will grow through 2030 by as much as 14% in Europe.
This changing business landscape means that what employers are looking for is changing too. It’s now more important than ever that employees possess the interpersonal skills to effectively relate to both co-workers, and clients.
How to assess for soft skills?