Why Hiring for Soft Skills Is More Important Than Ever

Soft skills are the abilities that help us do our best work — the backbone behind a good workplace ethic. They tend to display a general competency, like communication or critical thinking, and find themselves on resumes around the world. Due to the simple nature of soft skills, many recruiters gloss over them during screening in favor of more specific experience and skills. However, in 2022 hiring for soft skills has become more important than ever. Let’s get into why that is.

Soft Skills Are Flexible

As technology advances and workplace practices change — flexible employees are becoming more and more important. Having workers that can shift the way that they complete tasks, or can adapt quickly to new software allow for smooth practice transitions.   

This ability to adapt and learn can allow you to hire those from an adjacent industry. Jobs are, in essence, a bundle of skills that are put to use in various ways. If you’re looking for a customer service specialist, and only consider those with years of customer service experience, you may come up short. Including candidates from fields that require good communication skills like marketing or writing will broaden your horizons — and could lead to an optimal hire.   

Having candidates with soft skills can also improve retention, and increase employee satisfaction. Those who are good critical thinkers and problem solvers are prime candidates for advancement/promotion. Both of these traits are essential for managers and executives alike. 

Widens The Candidate Pool

The world is currently suffering from a talent gap, especially among those of the younger generation. As of September 2021, nearly one-fourth of those aged 20 to 34 are not considered part of the workforce. Whether it be burnout, a distaste for workplace culture, or more personal reasons, 14 million Americans have decided not to look for jobs for a while.

With this in mind, many employers are looking to widen their reach, becoming less picky about what skills constitute a good candidate. Hiring for soft skills preserves quality candidates without rejecting too many, giving your team that needed diversity. This increase in candidate diversity can also be a boon when mass hiring entry-level employees, as less specific skills are necessary for them to be successful.

Increases The Chance Of A Well-Rounded Hire

When hiring for specific skill sets, you’re getting an employee who can jump right into work — but if their mindset doesn’t match your organization they won’t last long. Hiring for soft skills, ones that are necessary for an employee to pair well with your org, makes retaining them easier. Even if you have to train them much more than an employee with more experience, that investment will pay off in the long run. 

How To Identify Soft Skills

Alongside understanding the benefits of hiring for soft skills, it’s important to know how to identify these traits in a candidate. Anybody can say they are great communicators and team members on their resume, so it’s important to test candidates on their soft skills during the rest of the hiring process. Here are some methods you can use to determine the extent of a candidate’s soft skills:

  • During the interview, ask about a time where they implemented their soft skills to benefit the workplace.
  • During the interview give them a scenario problem that can be resolved by using one of their soft skills. Ask how they’d rectify the situation.

These can help determine whether a candidate really has the skills they claim to and bring your HR team one step closer to finding an optimal candidate. However, hiring for soft skills can be challenging, and even tedious due to the increased number of resumes with sought-after traits. Using AI recruitment software can streamline your talent pipeline, optimize recruitment campaigns, and leave your HR team the necessarily human work. 

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