Soft skill vs hard skill - blog image

The Importance of Soft vs. Hard Skills & How to Evaluate Them 

Anjali Saini on January 11, 2024 in Insights

Key Highlights

  • Hard skills are technical abilities relevant to a job, whereas soft skills encompass interpersonal attributes.
  • Recruiting candidates with the right hard vs. soft skills improves the organization’s culture.
  • Using tools like Jobsoid makes hiring candidates with the ideal hard vs. soft skills easier.

When hiring potential employees, you should understand the skills you seek in them. 75% of recruiters can’t find candidates with the necessary hard and soft skills. So, the focus tends to lean toward assessing hard skills and soft skills more precisely when hiring for any position. It’s essential to recognize that you should hire a well-rounded candidate with a blend of hard and soft skills.

Let’s discuss hard skills vs. soft skills and how to evaluate hard and soft skills when hiring.

What are Hard Skills vs Soft Skills?

What is a hard skill?

Hard skills refer to the technical abilities necessary to excel in a particular job or secure a new one. They are usually specific to a particular industry. For instance, a financial analyst requires a distinct set of hard skills compared to a carpenter.

However, some hard skills can be valuable across various industries. For example, being fluent in a second language could benefit both a financial analyst and a carpenter. As a recruiter, you can measure hard skills with certificates or qualifications that showcase skills.

What is a soft skill?

Soft skills are interpersonal and communication attributes that improve an individual’s interactions and career prospects. These skills are intangible and difficult to quantify but are highly valued in the workplace.

These skills include good communication, leadership, etc. Another valued soft skill is helping colleagues learn new things. Employees in a company are most effective when they have strong soft skills.

Some Hard Skills vs Soft Skills Examples

When making hiring decisions, you should seek a mix of soft skills vs. hard skills. Here is the hard skills vs. soft skills list to help you identify the skills you should see in a candidate while hiring.

Hard skills examples

  • Data analysis
  • Programming languages like Java, Python, etc.
  • Graphic design includes InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, and more.
  • Project management consists of Scrum, Agile methodologies, etc.
  • Digital marketing, including SEO, SMO, and more.
  • Accounting and finance
  • Third-language proficiency

Soft skills examples

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Adaptability
  • Time management
  • Creativity
  • Emotional intelligence

How to Evaluate Hard and Soft Skills When Hiring

Evaluating a job candidate involves assessing hard skills specific to the job and soft skills, focusing on behaviors and personalities. Hard skills and soft skills are both important to an employee’s success with a company, so it’s important to evaluate a job candidate on both.

Hard Skills Evaluation:

You can use the below-given tests to evaluate the hard skills of the candidate during hiring.

  1. Skill Assessment Tests

    For hard skills, utilizing well-established skill assessment tests tailored to industry or job-specific tasks is essential. Some of the examples include:

    • Computer skills assessment
    • Work sample tests
    • Cognitive ability tests
    • Basic math or writing assessments
  2. Technical Tests

    You can implement technical tests directly relevant to the job to gauge a candidate’s proficiency in specific tasks. For example, in a graphic design position, you can ask candidates to design a sample logo or webpage.

  3. Role-play Scenarios

    You can integrate role-play scenarios mimicking real work situations to observe how candidates apply their hard skills in practical settings. For instance, in an IT support role, you can simulate a help desk scenario where candidates troubleshoot technical issues.

Soft Skills Evaluation

To measure the soft skills of the candidates, you can use the below tests and check their compatibility for the position.

  1. Different Interview Questions

    The interview phase provides an ideal opportunity to assess the soft skills of the candidates. You must craft questions that allow candidates to demonstrate their abilities. You can utilize the STAR interview response technique:

    • Situation: Inquire about a challenging work situation the candidate faced.
    • Task: Ask about the tasks identified to address the problem.
    • Action: Understand their actions, including collaboration or escalation if necessary.
    • Result: Learn about outcomes, lessons, and reflections on their activities.
  2. Behavioral Tests

    You should incorporate behavioral tests to provide insight into how candidates respond to specific workplace scenarios. This reveals their soft skills. For example, you can present a scenario where a deadline changes suddenly. Then, you should observe how candidates adapt and communicate.

  3. Role-play Scenarios

    You can create scenarios where candidates can showcase their soft skills. You can do this through role-playing, allowing observation of adaptability, communication, and teamwork. For instance, in a sales role, you can let candidates engage in a role-play of a sales pitch. This will help in assessing their communication and persuasion skills.

Why are Soft and Hard Skills Important while hiring?

The significance of evaluating soft vs. hard skills during the hiring process is underscored by their impact on various aspects:

  1. Shows the Confidence Level

    Soft skills contribute to an individual’s confidence. They show the effective communication and interpersonal finesse of the candidate. 48% of recruiters say that soft skills are essential for prospective employees. You can assess how he/she will influence team interactions and client relationships in the company through his or her skill set.

  2. Demonstrates Creativity Skills

    Creative thinking and problem-solving, considered soft skills, showcase a candidate’s innovative approach. These skills inject fresh ideas and solutions, which bring creativity to the company.

  3. Enhances Overall Productivity

    Proficiency in the top hard skills, like software development and finance, directly influences a candidate’s ability to perform specific tasks efficiently. This proficiency contributes to elevated overall team and organizational productivity.

  4. Shows Commitment to Long-term Success

    A blend of soft and hard skills signals a commitment to long-term success. Soft skills like adaptability and hard skills like website development indicate a candidate’s dedication to evolving with the company in the pre-preparation of his candidature.

  5. Helps to Onboard Faster

    Candidates with a mix of soft and hard skills tend to onboard faster. Their adaptability, communication skills, and immediate technical contributions streamline the onboarding process by enhancing efficiency.

Wrapping Up

The key to successful recruitment lies in finding candidates with the right hard skills vs. soft skills. This dual consideration significantly enhances both productivity and the overall team culture. By evaluating candidates based on how well their hard skills vs. soft skills align with your team dynamics, you can make well-informed decisions during the recruitment process. You can rely on recruitment tools like Jobsoid to hire the best-fit candidates for your company. Sign up and make your hiring process easier.

Anjali Saini

Anjali Saini is a content writer and editor with a rich two-year experience in the publishing industry. She has crafted polished content for clients across many industries. Currently, she focuses her expertise on writing for SaaS, tech, and finance, where her knack for translating complex concepts into engaging and accessible content shines.