Hiring for soft skills: benefits and tips

Written by Milly Woodward

Although often overlooked on a CV, hiring for soft skills is critical to a business’s success. According to a recent LinkedIn Global Talent Trends survey 89% of respondents stated that bad hires “typically have poor soft skills”. By not focusing on those all-important soft skills, you could potentially end up hiring people who look great on paper but may struggle within the office environment. 

What are some of the most important soft skills to keep an eye out for?

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Adaptability
  • Time management
  • Problem-solving

Without a candidate having a well-rounded mix of both soft and hard skills they may not excel within the business. If a candidate has the exact qualification or experience that you are looking for but doesn’t have the ability to communicate efficiently and work within a team, then their hard skills (I.e. their knowledge/experience) may not be demonstrated to their full ability as they could be less likely to join in large team discussions and share knowledge with other employees- see the benefit of soft skills?

What are the benefits of hiring for soft skills?

  • Hiring with soft skills in mind allows you to diversify and broaden your hiring pipeline
  • Soft skills training has been shown across multiple studies including those from Harvard University to increase staff productivity and retention by up to 12%
  • Soft skills are especially critical in customer-focused roles for increased customer satisfaction ratings

Tips for including more of a focus on soft skills in your recruiting process

Focus on your job descriptions

  • Review your job descriptions, do they include a focus on skills such as communication or teamwork? Review the competencies required for the role and refine your job description accordingly.

Structure your interviews

  • Structure your interviews cleverly. It is critical to structure your interviews to understand a candidate’s soft skills, this could be through scenario-based questions, roleplay scenarios or in person interviews where they are required to interact with existing members of the team- whatever best fits the requirements of the job.

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