Why hiring for soft skills is the future of recruitment

Soft skills are any skill or quality that can be classified as a personality trait or attribute. These individual skills and behaviours such as creativity, empathy, critical thinking and interpersonal skills shape the way we work, act and interact with others. 

The importance of soft skills has increased significantly in recent years due to technological development. 

Soft skills are far more indicative of future job performance compared to hard skills. Soft skills play a significant role in how a person approaches work related tasks, builds relationships and communicates with their colleagues and other stakeholders. Therefore, it’s vitally important to be able to assess them accurately. 

Using a formalised and psychometrically valid method of soft skill assessment is the most effective way to assess your candidates for soft skills. 

Did you know?

One study by Deloitte stated that soft skill intensive jobs will grow 2.5x faster than other jobs, and by 2030 soft skills jobs will make up 63% of all jobs. And that’s no wonder since soft skills:

Significantly predict job performance

One study found that soft skill acquisition through training significantly predicted job performance, with a high and long-lasting impact.

Drive improved employee performance

A study into personality dimensions and job performance found that ’emotional stability, extraversion, openness to experience and conscientiousness were related to task performance and creativity.’

Drive more positive business outcomes

A meta-analysis found that the specific soft skills that are predictive of job performance vary between sector and job role.

Linked to increase business revenue

A workforce that is more soft skills centric will generally be far more adaptable than one that has been recruited solely based on their hard skills. This means that companies that have a soft skill centric workforce will often be more innovative and deal with change much easier than companies using a hard skills approach to hiring.

The ‘skills gap’ problem

According to a report on different types of skills in the job market, a large proportion of job postings are dedicated to describing soft skills, and place high value upon them. 

However, these are often skills which candidates do not receive additional training or support with once placed in a role. 

This results in what we call a ‘skills gap’ where skills are being overemphasised in the recruitment process, but under supplied (or not accurately identified) from the talent pool. 

The hard demand for soft skills

There is a gap between business’ demand for soft skills and their presence in the workforce. 

According to one LinkedIn survey 92% of talent professionals and hiring managers said that soft skills matter as much or more in recruitment than hard skills.  89% say that bad hires typically lack the right soft skills. 

The research clearly points out that while hiring managers always have certain demands for hard skills and job experience, soft skills are the key drivers for success. The challenge is how to accurately measure and identify them in candidates. 

Why do soft skills matter?

Soft skills are personality traits that shape the way we work, act, and interact with others. These skills represent a range of different abilities and attributes that are often necessary for success in a particular role.  

Soft skills are becoming increasingly vital in the workplace. The reason for this is because they are highly transferable and can be applied to numerous situations in several roles. As society continues to grow digitally, soft skills will become more vital in the workplace. 

By measuring soft skills, we get a result that demonstrates how the individual will perform in a specific role. Key insights about how an individual interacts with colleagues, performs work related tasks, communicates, and builds relationships are not always easy to discover during an interview or by looking at a CV. It is though in fact crucial when it comes to finding the perfect match. 

If you’re interested in finding out how to better incorporate soft skills into your assessment, recruitment and selection processes then please do get in touch.


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