Soft Skills Vs. Hard Skills: What Matters More In Recruiting?

Soft Skills Vs. Hard Skills: What Matters More In Recruiting?

The Importance Of Soft And Hard Skills In The Hiring Phase

More and more recruiters hire people based on their skills rather than just relying on their resumes. They usually do that by assessing the candidates’ skills with tests to see if they have the perfect mix of both soft and hard skills. After all, most companies seek employees who can adapt to any situation. For instance, if you hire someone because of their soft skills, they might be great at communicating with others but struggle with the technical aspects of their job. If you hire someone for their hard skills, they might be great at specific tasks but find it challenging to work with others. In this article, we help you understand what matters most when evaluating candidates and how to strike a balance between soft skills and hard skills.

Understanding Soft Skills

What exactly are soft skills? They can be described as attributes that shape your personal and professional interactions and aren’t industry-specific. We’re talking about empathy, problem solving, decision making, teamwork, etc. Even if you’re an expert in your field, not communicating effectively with your peers won’t allow you to get very far. Hard skills are usually what score you points in an interview, but soft skills secure you a steady position in the company. Plus, on a team level, it’s not always about who has higher expertise but who can share their knowledge with their fellow team members and contribute more effectively.

The Significance Of Hard Skills

Hard skills are the strongest tools in any candidate’s arsenal. They can be seen and measured, which is why they are attractive when it comes to recruiting. SEO expertise, coding skills, programming languages, graphic design, and knowledge of social media ads are all hard skills that help you ace interviews and advance your career. Although they help employees perform better at their roles, giving them the confidence to finish tasks successfully, they work better in combination with soft skills. For instance, you have to finish a project soon, but no matter how skilled you are in your role, you won’t be able to do it successfully without solid time management skills.

Preferred Soft Skills And Hard Skills

Collaboration Skills

With remote work being the new norm, businesses value skills that allow their staffers to perform at their best even when away from their peers. In tight-knit teams, there’s support, ideas flowing freely, opinions exchanged, and help coming from multiple directions. Recruiters focus on soft skills, like the ability to collaborate, because they realize that one’s contribution affects everyone’s productivity. It’s all about applying your hard skills to larger projects and communicating effectively so your work integrates perfectly with your peers’ work.

Tech Literacy

New technologies arise almost every day, rocking the boat in every industry. So, no matter the position you’re applying for, you must be familiar with specific applications, software, and platforms. Recruiters look for candidates who not only know their way around computers but, most importantly, are comfortable using different digital tools. Being tech-savvy is a challenging skill that doesn’t require you to be an expert in all the programs out there, of course. Instead, it’s more about knowing how to use them to be more productive and bring innovative ideas to the table.


HR professionals want to create a workforce that consists of people who can adapt to any situation that comes their way. It can be a new position, new responsibilities, or moving to a different team. In work environments, especially busy ones, nothing stays the same for too long. Hence, recruiters usually focus on people who embrace change, stay calm, and know how to quickly come up with new plans and strategies to handle out-of-the-blue situations.

Data Analysis

Data analysis is particularly in demand nowadays due to the fact that there’s an overload of information in every industry. Employers understand the power of Big Data and look for candidates who can make sense of numbers and other information in order to deliver valuable insights. Whether you work in sales, marketing, or IT, you’re most likely surrounded by data. So, make sure you’re familiar with interpreting information, visualizing it, and finding patterns that most people wouldn’t. Data analysis not only gives you a head start in the recruiting phase but also helps you make smarter decisions.

How To Help Employees Balance Soft Skills And Hard Skills

Training Initiatives

Training can turn your skilled lone-wolf employees into social butterflies, and your personality hires into experts in their field, helping you achieve the perfect balance between soft and hard skills. So, when creating a training plan for your workforce, ensure that it’s tailored to their current abilities as well as the ones you want them to enhance. For example, if you notice that a certain team aces their projects but has trouble contributing ideas in meetings, you should focus their training on communication skills, among others. Similarly, if an employee is good at collaborating but experiences difficulty navigating through new platforms, they should train more on technical skills.

Skill Assessments

Skill assessments help recruiters and managers find the ideal individual who brings both technical expertise and interpersonal abilities to the organization. But how exactly can organizations achieve this balance among employees? Start by recognizing that different types of skills require different types of assessments. You can check one’s soft skills via behavioral interviews, judgment tests, and scenarios about how they respond to different situations. Hard skills assessments, though, involve tests, certifications, or demonstrations. For better insights regarding your employees’ skills, try mixing these assessments. For example, incorporate real-life scenarios into virtual simulations or certifications to test both soft and hard skills.

Regular Feedback

When it comes to balancing soft and hard skills, regular feedback can reveal how both skillsets are performing in tandem. If you notice that some employees are technically brilliant but struggle to handle conflict, you don’t have to wait for the annual review to address this. You can hop in a casual chat or meeting, recognizing the employees’ technical talent and gently driving them towards team-building activities or workshops to enhance their conflict resolution skills. Feedback sessions are also important for celebrating successes and growth. For instance, if an employee has made significant progress in improving their soft skills, acknowledging this can boost their morale and motivation.


Finding the right candidates is key, and it’s even better if they have a great mix of both soft and hard skills. That’s why it’s imperative to look for a balance. It may seem like a good idea to go for someone with degrees and diplomas but, first, assess their soft skills, like teamwork or communication. This can give you a better look at how well they’ll fit in with your team and whether they’re open to sharing their knowledge and learning new skills. With this approach, you prepare the company for the future and welcome individuals who not only fit in with your culture but are also valuable assets.

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