What are Soft Skills and Why They are Important in Hiring?

Wood blocks with the letters for "Soft Skills" on them.

When hiring for your organization, there is no question that hard skills are important. However, soft skills are often overlooked which can be a mistake as well. Finding a balance of the right hard and soft skills in potential candidates is ideal when hiring in 2023.

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

Hard skills are objective, measurable abilities or skills a candidate can bring to your organization. This could include things such as a specific software, program, language skill, etc. It’s relatively cut and dry whether a candidate has a certain hard skill or not.

On the other hand, soft skills are far more subjective. They cover those characteristics and attributes that generally dictate how an individual interacts and communicates in a workplace. These include communication, leadership, emotional intelligence, problem-solving, teamwork, creativity, etc.

Why are Soft Skills Important?

Having strong communication and teamwork skills are often very important in the modern workplace. Also, having certain soft skills such as time management or problem-solving can lead to improved productivity within the company.  While they are not quantifiable, having team members in your organization with these important soft skills can lead to a more cohesive and motivated company culture.

Also, soft skills are often very hard to teach. While it’s far simpler to teach someone how to use a specific software program, it is much harder to teach creativity, teamwork, etc. These skills are often engrained in one’s personality or developed at a young age. Not to say someone cannot improve in these areas, but it can be much more of a challenge.

How to Incorporate Soft Skills into Your Hiring Process?

First of all, not every candidate will have each and every soft skill out there, that would be quite the purple unicorn! You should determine which skills are the most important for your team and culture. Also, different skills will be important for different job functions.

Once you know what you are looking for in a candidate, it’s time to incorporate proper screening in the interview process. The most common strategy is using the STAR method for interviewing. This interview style uses behavioral based questions focusing on Situation, Task, Action, and Result.  STAR method allows candidates to give specific examples of when they demonstrated certain behaviors. You can easily Google sample STAR questions to get started in finding the most appropriate questions for your open position!


If you are struggling to find the RIGHT candidates to interview, that is where we can help you out. Contact us if you want to see how we can assist!