What Are Soft Skills?
The term “soft skills” refers to the attributes that an applicant can bring to your company that might not show up on a resume, such as:
- Emotional intelligence
- Conflict resolution
- Critical thinking
These soft skills can demonstrate a candidate’s ability to be a positive presence in the workplace outside of, or alongside, their official job description. For example, communication, conflict resolution and problem-solving are integral to helping your workplace function smoothly. Critical thinking and creativity are important for contributing new ideas and solutions that other employees might not think of.
But while all of these soft skills are great to have in your employees, you won’t be the only one looking for those candidates.
Candidates in High Demand
According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report, 92% of talent professionals reported that soft skills are equally, or even more important, than hard skills.
A report from the International Association of Administrative Professionals, OfficeTeam and HR.com noted that 67% of HR managers said that they would hire an applicant with strong soft skills even if they were lacking in technical skills. Meanwhile, only 9% of those same responders said that they would extend an offer to a candidate with strong technical skills but weak soft skills.
Many business schools, including Harvard, Yale and Columbia, are now offering courses that focus specifically on soft skills.
Finding the Skills Your Company Needs
Most job postings will include language fishing for certain soft skills, but similarly, most applicants will claim to have them. Request that candidates include specific examples of the skills that you’re seeking in their cover letters and resumes. You can gain some indications based on how they respond. For example, do they give themselves all the credit, or do they cite things like teamwork?
Some companies use online services in order to help
filter out candidates before beginning the interview process. Applicants are required to go through an online assessment using software programmed to analyze, among other things, soft skills.
Regardless of the steps you and your company might choose to take, it’s easiest to assess these kinds of qualifications in person. The interview process is when it becomes more apparent which candidates have the soft skills you’re looking for, but there are still steps that your company should take in order to assess interviewees.
Of course, not every soft skill is of equal importance for every position. For example, communication skills might be more important for a client-facing position, while problem solving and conflict resolution are necessary for those in management.