How Much Do You Value Soft Skills in Your Candidates?

Businessman sitting at desk with business scheme and icons

In an increasingly qualified world, it seems the age is upon us where employers and recruiters are looking further and further beyond applicants that simply have what they are looking for on paper. In the modern workplace, talk and demand is increasing for so-called ‘soft skills’.

These are skills that are hard to quantify with tests or qualifications, and pretty much impossible to determine by looking at a CV or application form. Politeness, confidence, listening, communicating and attitude are all perfect examples of soft skills, and most of them are reflected in a candidate’s personality.

The idea that qualifications aren’t that important isn’t a new debate, however, qualifications (or lack-of) often get weighed-up next to work history and experience, rather than the candidate’s raw potential.

Ultimately, a candidate that has all the right credentials but comes across as rude, arrogant, lazy or possesses any other unpleasant or undesirable traits isn’t going to make it over the final hurdle. Does this therefore mean that recruiters are too soon to dismiss candidate’s with less than the correct amount of credentials that could be the perfect fit in terms of their outlook and ability to integrate into the workplace?

It could be argued that ‘hard skills’, if you could call them that – the technical abilities that the candidate needs to perform the role – are much more easily taught than teaching a candidate to have the right levels of enthusiasm or commitment. It also can be said that the soft skills mentioned are not things that are not taught in a classroom, and a highly educated candidate isn’t more likely to have them than one educated to a lesser level.

Everyone wants to find the candidate that slots perfectly into the role, the one that shows up on time, has a great telephone manner, responds to emails quickly, makes an effort with other employees and is generally a positive addition to the workplace. The realisation that this ideal fit may not have the ideal degree or as much work experience as the hirer would prefer is an important one.

Do you consider all factors when you look into potential candidates? Do you find potential candidates that have the right credentials but unimpress you when it gets to interview stage? If so, start taking the time to consider soft skills, looking at candidates with the potential to be moulded into the perfect new employee and not the existing complete package.