When finding the ideal fit for your team, it can be easy to focus on the technical or hard skills, especially for tech-focused roles when there’s so much to consider.

Does the candidate know the right coding language? Do they have experience with a specific software?

Of course, it’s important to hire for those must-have skills, but we mustn’t forget soft skills.

Soft skills are the qualities that enable candidates to be productive and successful members of your team. They promote productivity, efficiency, and effective communication in the work environment. When searching for candidates, these skills are just as important to identify during the recruitment process.

In the past two years, teams have had to quickly adapt to new ways of thinking, working, and collaborating. And with hybrid working becoming increasingly popular among many businesses who want the best of both worlds, now is the right time to re-assess the soft skills you’re looking for in your next hires.

Top 10 Soft Skills

According to the World Economic Forum, the top 10 skills of the future have been broken down into the following four categories:

  • Problem-solving
  • Self-management
  • Working with people
  • Technology use and development

This gives you an idea as to how these skills have been prioritised and consider the new world of work. Self-management is more important than ever before in this new age of hybrid-working and falls second only to problem-solving.

The list is as follows:

  1. Analytical thinking and innovation
  2. Active learning
  3. Complex problem-solving
  4. Critical thinking and analysis
  5. Creativity and initiative
  6. Leadership
  7. Technology use
  8. Programming
  9. Resilience and flexibility
  10. Reasoning and problem-solving

Hiring for Soft Skills…

To find the best candidates who have these soft skills, you might need to re-think your hiring process. Here are some things to consider…

Job Descriptions

Review your job descriptions to ensure the criteria references the soft skills you’re looking for. Otherwise, you risk receiving the majority of applications from candidates who showcase hard skills.

Take the time to understand the soft skills needed for the roles you’re hiring and update your adverts accordingly. For instance, you could include that you’re looking for candidates with an analytical and creative mind and who are always looking to learn new skills.

By keeping soft skills in mind when writing your job descriptions, you’re guaranteed to find top talent and strengthen your future talent pipeline.


Assessing communication skills can be a good insight into candidates’ soft skills. For example, good communication skills are a great indicator of a candidate’s creativity, problem-solving skills and how they work in a team.

Plus, they’re easy to evaluate! Emails, telephone conversations and face-to-face interviews are all good indicators of a candidate’s communication skills.

Verbal cues are a great way to gauge whether or not the candidate is a team player. For example, when asked about experiences in a previous company, do they use “I” or “we” more often? 

Also, take note of body language when you meet candidates face-to-face. Do they engage with the conversation, making eye contact and displaying open body language? Or do they regularly interrupt the interviewer? Listening is just as important when assessing communication skills.


Get the most out of your interviews by structuring them to gain an insight into soft skills competencies.

Behaviour-based questions can help you identify what soft skills candidates possess. For example…

  • Can you share a time you solved a problem creatively?
  • What is your ideal work environment? How do you normally like to communicate with your colleagues?
  • Can you share a time when you helped a colleague who needed help or guidance on a project?
  • Was there ever a time when you had communication problems with your manager or colleagues? How did you handle this situation and what were your colleagues’ responses?

You should make an effort to include questions such as these, especially when hiring for tech-based roles when questions are usually more focused on experience, knowledge and technical skills.

Soft Skills are Important

With so many companies moving to hybrid working, it’s important to gain the right blend of skills to ensure high productivity in your employees.

Prioritising soft skills allows employees to use their technical, hard skills effectively without being disadvantaged by poor teamwork, communication breakdowns or ineffective leadership.

By looking beyond these hard skills, there’s no doubt that you’ll discover candidates who understand how to get the best out of themselves and their team.

For more support on hiring for soft skills, get in touch. We’d love to discuss how we can help you with your next hires.

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