Many recruiters start with relevant experience when evaluating potential new hires. These are indeed important factors, but more companies are recognizing the importance of carefully evaluating hard and soft skills during the interview process.
So what are hard and soft skills? The abilities or skill sets of individuals are known as hard skills, but soft skills are less easily defined. They are not talents or abilities that can be measured and are typically universal — meaning, they can apply to more than one work setting.
Think of hard skills as what you might list on a job application or on a resumé such as certifications, past work experience, and other achievements. Soft skills, on the other hand, can help build longer-lasting co-worker and customer relationships.
Hard skills are often specific to work experience and on-the-job training or formal education. Areas on a resume that show certification or training are generally hard skills. For example, the ability to program a CNC machine is a hard skill, just as are bookkeeping or inventory control skills. Hard skills are very specific, easily defined, and measurable.
Soft skills are the qualities that influence how well an individual will perform in both the assigned role and the overall work environment. Soft skills are interpersonal skills that include teamwork, collaboration, and communication. It is difficult to teach these skills to individuals, apart from awareness of what each trait is and how the use of the skills can influence productivity within the company and develop job satisfaction.
Soft skills are often a part of a strong work ethic that is intrinsically motivated. Individuals with well-developed soft skills exhibit the following, though this list is not comprehensive:
Traditionally, human resource and talent acquisition teams have relied on an applicant’s resumé and personal interview in order to make an informed judgment about a potential hire. Job descriptions are often written to include a need for both hard and soft skills, and many applicants will use a “skills” section on a resume to list the qualities and abilities they feel are their strengths.
However, it is easy enough for an applicant to parrot the “required” or “desired skills” section of the initial job description in order to catch the eye of the talent scout or headhunter. To move past just words on a page, many companies now put applicants through assessments designed to uncover or more fully define a specific set of skills.
While a resume or interview can give an individual a chance to share a specific experience that supports a skill claim, a soft skills assessment carries no bias and uses examples about the work environment and potential encounters with their peers to uncover the personal preferences and habits of applicants.
The initial research done through resume scanning can help isolate individuals who seem to be a potential fit. Being able to pull out candidates who have the specific skillset and correlating job experience can save time in narrowing down a high volume of applications. The assessment portion of the application process can determine if the individual is truly a good fit for the position and if the listed skills are indeed well-honed skills.
The right combination of hard and soft skills amounts to the perfect candidate for a job. When job seekers are placed in a role where their skills are fully utilized and challenged, there tends to be greater job satisfaction, productivity, and loyalty to the company culture.
Rather than put pressure on your talent acquisition teams, you can use the new partnership of pymetrics and Hired Score to quickly evaluate a pool of job candidates for the best fit. The use of HiredScore will decrease the often lengthy process of hiring by using one system and aggregating key datasets to narrow down the soft and hard skills needed to fill a role.
Not only will these assessments help the company identify the most qualified applications, but they also identify any skills gaps that exist and alternate opportunities for the job seeker. The results are a condensed list of applicants highly qualified and compatible with an available position.
With pymetrics, you can transform the way you recruit new talent, and by doing so, revolutionize your workforce. This in-depth exploration of hard and soft skills ensures a more holistic approach to hiring that results in employee retention and satisfaction.