Soft skills make a difference in your culture – what matters to you?

Marissa Levin
Marissa Levin
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You are sitting across the table from a job applicant. His resume checks off all the hard skills (e.g., technical knowledge, software skills, product knowledge, industry experience). But does he bring the soft skills needed? A common mistake employers make is assuming that just because someone has all the hard skills required, he or she will be successful.

However, soft skills are a critical piece of the hiring puzzle and should not be undervalued. All the experience in the world cannot replace the fundamental soft skills that your culture thrives on, so whether you are interviewing a seasoned exec or a recent college graduate, soft skills can make the difference between a bad hire or a future rock star.

Soft skills reflect how a person relates, listens, thinks, and collaborates with those around him. Employers are finding them increasingly important with 93% reporting soft skills as an “essential” or “very important” factor when considering a candidate. These skills can be challenging to screen for during the hiring process (and even harder to teach after the new hire has started). However, once you know the soft skills that are important to your company, you can design your selection process to reflect those qualities.

Here are a few steps to consider:

Know Which Soft Skills You Need
There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to assessing soft skills. Instead, it’s best to focus on the characteristics that drive the business forward. Consider your corporate culture, your industry, and your unique business.

What soft skills do the most successful people in your organization exude? Are they effective communicators?

Do they collaborate well and rally the troops when you need it most? Identify what skills are most important to your organization and then build them into your hiring process.

Ask the Right Questions
When structuring your interview questions, be sure to ask behavioral-based questions that drill down into the soft skills you have identified. Questions such as ‘Give me an example of how you have changed your approach in order to communicate more effectively with someone’, or ‘Tell me about a major project that you are proud of and why’ are great questions to uncover a candidate’s soft skills.

Add a Soft Skills Assessment to Your Hiring Recipe
There are a variety of assessments on the market that look at factors such as compassion, humility, emotional intelligence, motivation, and countless other soft skills. Find one that fits well with your needs. Just make sure the assessment serves as only part of the puzzle – not a deal breaker.

As the dynamic of our world of work continues to evolve, many top soft skills will remain the desirable – serving as the foundation to success regardless of where we work. When you focus on hiring the right mix of cultural fit, soft skills, and experience, you are sure to hire a winner for your team.

Reach out to us at to discover how we can help your organization identify the right mix of soft skills to compliment your culture. Our SCALE Academy is the perfect place to start! Building cultures where everyone feels valued and is able to contribute to your bottom line is what we do best.

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