How to hire candidates with strong soft skills in 2023

Discover the importance of hiring for soft skills and find out the most effective way to assess these skills in candidates.

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What’s Inside?

The rise of automation and remote work are only two factors heightening the value of human skills. These softer skills such as problem solving, time management, teamwork and communication are attributes that drive truly exceptional performance. In this white paper, we’ll cover the following topics to give you some background and advice on hiring for soft skills:

  • How the skills gap is raising the value of soft skills

  • What risks are associated with a lack of soft skills

  • How to approach assessing candidate soft skills

  • Which jobs require soft skills as core skills

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are a set of personal qualities, habits and attitudes that enable an employee to interact effectively with their team, clients and customers. They are important for job applicants to possess when applying for a job because they can help demonstrate abilities and traits that cannot be found on a résumé.

Soft skills are becoming increasingly important in the hiring process as employers recognize the impact these skills have on success in the workplace.

The 7 soft skills to identify

hire for soft skills

Hiring the right employees is the key to a successful business. It is important to identify and hire candidates who possess not only hard skills but also soft skills.

Soft skills are an important element of success in any job role and should be taken into account when recruiting new team members. Here are 7 soft skills to look for when hiring:

1. Communication

A candidate with good communication skills will be able to communicate effectively both with customers and colleagues, which will help build strong relationships.

2. Teamwork

A great team player is someone who can collaborate with others efficiently and provide support where needed. They will also have the ability to recognize different team members' strengths and weaknesses in order to maximize their performance as a unit.

3. Problem-solving

Problem-solving is an essential skill for success in the workplace. It's a process of identifying and understanding issues, developing solutions and taking action to reach a desired result. People who possess problem-solving skills are able to analyze situations from multiple perspectives, think strategically and creatively come up with workable solutions. These skills also involve being organized, an effective communicator and great listener. Problem-solving is a valuable tool for both individual success as well as team collaboration.

4. Leadership

A leader is someone who is able to guide and motivate others towards achieving a goal, while also displaying qualities such as trustworthiness and charisma. Leadership as a soft skill emphasizes the concept of teamwork, where individuals come together to form an effective team that can accomplish more than each individual could on their own.

5. Time management

Time management is the ability to plan and control how someone spends their time in order to accomplish specific tasks and goals. Time management helps individuals stay organized, prioritize tasks, and manage multiple projects or assignments at once. It also helps them develop the discipline they need to stay on track with deadlines and reach their goals effectively.

6. Interpersonal

Interpersonal soft skills are qualities that enable individuals to interact effectively with other people. These skills can be used in a variety of workplace settings and situations and encompass the capacity to build meaningful personal relationships while displaying empathy and active listening.

7. Decision making

With the ability to make sound decisions, employees can take control of any situation and make informed choices about what action to take. Decision making involves using judgment, experience, and available resources to evaluate different options and then make a decision on the best course of action.

Why are soft skills important in the workplace?

In the workplace, soft skills are often undervalued but should not be overlooked. They are important because these are abilities which allow an individual to work well with others, handle difficult situations calmly, think critically and solve complex problems quickly.

How do you hire for soft skills?

hire for soft skills

Hiring for soft skills is becoming increasingly important in today's workplace. Companies are realizing that they need employees that not only have the technical know-how, but also possess certain traits and abilities to ensure success in their role.

So how do you best hire for these 'soft' skills?

The first step is to identify which soft skills are needed for the job. Think about what qualities a successful candidate should possess, such as empathy, problem-solving ability or a positive attitude.

Once you've determined which specific attributes each potential employee should have, it will be easier to focus on during the recruitment process. Modern recruitment processes often incorporate the use of soft skill assessments which is a great way to measure these skills.

Additionally, look at past performance reviews from existing employees who have similar roles - this will help you understand what characteristics a successful hire should possess.

You can read more about how and why you should hire for soft skills in our white paper.

The key benefits of hiring for soft skills

Having strong soft skills allows employees to manage their workloads more efficiently while having a positive influence on team dynamics. Employers look for individuals who possess these skills as they know that these applicants will be able to make meaningful contributions in the workplace.

When people have strong soft skill sets they can better understand what their co-workers need or desire from them when completing tasks together or working on projects collaboratively. This allows for more efficient workflows and higher quality results, which is beneficial to any organization's long-term success.

Soft job skills examples

Below are a few common job roles and examples of the soft skills required to be successful for that role.

Managers and leadership roles

Managers and leaders in top positions need strong soft skills across the board. Leadership is the key soft skill here but you will also need to look out for strong communication, great decision making abilities and excellent problem solving.


To be a great salesperson requires interpersonal skills, time management and excellent communication. Since most salespeople are customer-facing, it's critical to job success that your hires have these skills.

Customer service

To be a great customer service representative you need to have strong communication skills and be able to solve problems quickly. Having the ability to communicate clearly with customers and handle their inquiries is essential for good customer service. Employees should also have great interpersonal abilities, as this can help build trust and loyalty between the business and its customers.

Soft skills vs hard skills

Soft skills and hard skills are two distinct sets of abilities - whilst both essential in the workplace, soft skills refer to a person's interpersonal, communication, and social ability; while hard skills refer to an individual's technical knowledge and expertise.

Soft skills involve how you interact with other people, such as being able to collaborate effectively with others. Hard skills involve specific knowledge about a certain subject area or industry. Examples include accounting, computer programming, web design, foreign languages, engineering and more.

While soft skills may be acquired through experience and education, hard skills require formal training or certification.

The difference between the two lies in their focus: soft skills are focused on building relationships with others whereas hard skills emphasize the acquisition of knowledge for practical purposes.

Other soft skill resources

How to hire candidates with strong soft skills in 2023

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