Soft skills vs hard skills

According to a recent LinkedIn survey, 92% of hiring managers believe that soft skills are as important or more important than hard skills in recruiting, with 89% of respondents saying that unsuccessful hires were generally about the lack of the right soft skills.

Soft skills vs hard skills

In today’s fast-paced job market, it’s not enough to just have technical expertise. For employers the focus has shifted to hiring employees who have a mixture of skills, with the focus being more on soft skills than traditional hard skills.

But what exactly are soft skills, and how do they differ from hard skills?

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are best described as the personal qualities, habits, attitudes, and social behaviours and mannerisms that affect how well people work and interact with each other.

Unlike hard skills, which are certain abilities or technical knowledge about a specific thing, soft skills are highly transferable but tend to be more difficult to quantify because they’re related to personality.

Employers often place a higher value on soft skills because they can help employees work well with others, adapt to changing situations, and solve problems in the workplace. Check out our What are Soft Skills? article for a more detailed description.

What are hard skills?

On the other hand, hard skills are defined as more specific knowledge or ability that has been learned through past education and/or experience and they are typically more technical in nature vs soft skills.

For example, hard skills within IT might include knowing how to use a certain piece of software for a specific purpose, such as using Excel formulas to run pivot tables. Knowledge of foreign languages would also be considered a hard skill.

In recruitment hard skills have traditionally dominated candidate CVs as they are typically easier to identify and quantify. In the past recruiters would often favour hard skills as it shows that people can do a specific job.

The future is soft

While hard skills aren’t going anywhere and do still have their place in working life, technology has replaced many tasks performed by humans and taken away some of the need for people’s technical skills, something that will in all probability only increase in the future.

In order to deal with this technological change, organisations are starting to place more focus on the importance of soft skills when it comes to hiring new employees.

At Clevry, we have long used personality questionnaires as part of the recruitment process to ensure that a candidate’s soft skills are compatible with the company’s culture, values, and job requirements. This way we always ensure the best match between the job seeker and the employer.

View the output from our soft skills assessments by downloading sample reports below.


Soft skills list
Emotional Intelligence
Critical Thinking
Active Listening
Conflict Resolution
Hard skills list
Programming languages (Java, python etc…)
Web development (html, CSS, JavaScript)
Computer graphics (Photoshop, Illustrator)
Speaking another language
Sales and Marketing
Project Management (e.g. Agile Methodology)
Data Analysis (SQL, Excel)
Technical Writing
Quality Control & Assurance
Sewing & Stitching
Administration of specific software (CRM, Accounting systems etc…)

Recent changes in the job market have led recruiters to value soft skills as much as, or even more than, hard skills. Businesses that hire for soft skills realise the importance of personal qualities and social behaviours that enable employees to work well with others, adapt to changing situations, and solve problems in the workplace more easily.

Although hard skills still have their place in working life, technology has replaced many tasks performed by humans, making soft skills increasingly important for individuals to keep up with the ever-changing world of work. As a result, organisations are placing more focus on the importance of soft skills when hiring new employees.

This shift highlights the need for job seekers to develop and highlight their soft skills, such as leadership, communication, teamwork, and emotional intelligence, alongside their hard skills to remain competitive in the job market.

If you want to learn more about soft skills and how your organisation can use them in recruitment, please do contact us.


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