As the job market becomes more competitive, companies have begun to put soft skills as a necessity alongside other qualifications. While hard skills demonstrate a candidate’s technical ability to fulfill the job requirements, soft skills demonstrate a candidate’s work ethic and character, including how well of a fit they are for the company’s culture and goals.
Any recruiter or recruitment agency worth their salt needs to identify these skills in order to find top talents who are ideal for the position to be filled. Deloitte’s 2019 survey of the recruiting industry found that “identifying full-time talent with the right skills” was one of the biggest challenges in recruitment.
To best find candidates that have both the know-how for the job and the crucial skills to be successful—and by extension, bring success to the company—requires knowing which soft skills can keep you ahead of the competition this 2020.
As the demand for soft skills in any position rises, knowing what skills to look for can help find talents that best fit their roles. Additionally, these skills are indicators of a candidate’s capability to grow and thrive in the company, making them more valuable in their roles, and even open up chances for further upskilling and contributing tenfold to the growth of the company.
- Critical thinking
At any level of the workplace, the need to solve problems is ever-present, and companies value candidates who see a problem and use what they know to analyze it, come up with a good solution, and decisively apply it. This skill is best demonstrated by strong logic and reasoning, as well as an ability to find patterns and draw meaningful conclusions from them.
A candidate with strong critical thinking should also be able to make sound judgment calls and carry out decisions in any situation by maximizing the use of resources available and honing into the fine details.
Evaluating this skill will require the right kind of tests and interview questions—one that allows the candidate to assess hypothetical scenarios or cite previous experiences where they exercised this skill in.
- Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence, known as the “social skill,” is the ability to adapt and manage your behavior in your interactions depending on the context and situation. While this may seem like a minor detail in the bigger picture of the job, this skill actually plays a vital role in the workplace.
The ability to connect with others can give a candidate an edge, especially in industries where they’ll need to work closely with others. Aside from this, being able to navigate complex social situations and understand other people—colleagues, superiors, clients, and others—is par for the course when working with others, more so for leaders and managers.
- Technical know-how
This soft skill may seem more like a hard skill, but with the rapid development of technology and the move towards digital platforms, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a position that doesn’t involve working with a computer.
Potential candidates need to be computer literate and can effectively use office software like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. In addition, being able to make the most out of Google searches—whether for on-the-job data gathering or finding solutions to particular problems—is a must.
Not only does this demonstrate mastery over one of the most common tools in the workplace, but it also highlights a candidate’s ability to maximize resources for problem-solving, critical thinking, and the like.
- Good communication
Any industry requires candidates with strong communication skills. Having the ability to express yourself effectively through a variety of channels—writing, face-to-face, email, phone calls, and more—is crucial for the success of any project and makes for a smooth-flowing workplace.
Additionally, good communication means being able to tailor a message for the right audience while remaining clear, concise, and focused.
However, communication is a two-way street. Aside from being able to share the message to their target recipient clearly, candidates with good communication skills should also be adept at listening—specifically, the ability to understand the other party’s own communication styles and responding appropriately.
This makes for a prospective employee that not only knows what to say but also knows how to learn from and understand others.
No matter the job, employers will prefer to hire team players. A candidate who can’t cooperate and work well with others may be rejected, no matter how excellent their qualifications are. The reasoning behind it is simple: nobody wants employees who are difficult to work with. Team players reduce the friction that can arise from within the team.
Candidates with a high level of teamwork are able to collaborate with a wide range of people effectively. It also means that they are able to manage and delegate tasks and take on responsibilities while building positive working relationships with their teammates to reach the set goals and objectives.
Leadership can make a significant impact in the workplace: from motivating others around you to keeping a positive tone with different teams to making the workflow more efficient. The best part is that leadership is a valuable skill at any level of a company, not just for managerial or high-level positions.
Candidates who demonstrate strong leadership skills can show initiative and take charge of a situation they’re faced with. They are also able to motivate their teammates and manage tasks efficiently in a given time frame. Finally, a strong leader is someone who can set a positive example with his or her work ethic and drive for continuous improvement.
- Negotiation and persuasion
It’s a fact that things won’t always go as planned. Sometimes, two parties may not see eye to eye, whether due to conflicting interests or lack of understanding. Therefore, recruiters need to be on the lookout for candidates who excel in negotiation and persuasion.
Persuasion is seen in how a candidate can come up with ideas and present them confidently and compellingly, leaving no gaps or questions. This then ties into negotiation. This skill becomes vital once another party has set out its own goals and arguments for them.
Strong negotiation skills can be seen in how a candidate understands the other’s objective and come up with a compromise that satisfies both parties.
This may be the skill that’s the hardest to quantify but is nevertheless essential in any company. Creativity goes beyond skills in arts or music—it is in the innovative and out-of-the-box way of thinking. Companies that seek candidates with creative thinking are looking for prospective employees who can approach things with a new perspective.
With the constant changes in technology and business, highly creative candidates can stay ahead of the curve. By their perspective and thought process, they are likely to see patterns where most do not and may present unexpected solutions to the challenges they are faced with.
Seek and You Shall Find, Then Recruit
As the landscape of businesses continues to evolve, so will the needs of companies seeking to fill out their ranks. It is on the shoulders of recruiters and recruitment agencies to find candidates who are highly qualified and possess the right skills that best match the company.
At the end of the day, technical knowledge and qualifications can only get a candidate so far. Coupled with the right soft skills—ones that allow them to work well with others, solve problems decisively, and facilitate smooth and clear communication—you may find a valuable talent that will further enrich the company they enter.