Which Would You Choose… Hard Skills or Soft Skills?
When it comes to hiring a new employee, in the absence of a “perfect” candidate, would you rather hire someone with:
- The right experience and qualifications, but lacking in soft skills, OR
- The soft skills that align with your corporate culture, but lacking experience or qualifications.
According to a recent survey of more than 2,000 professionals conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Yoh, a leading international talent and outsourcing company and part of Day and Zimmermann, three out of four Americans would choose #2 – soft skills over hard skills. Here was the breakdown of the responses – on both sides:
- 36% – would choose someone enthusiastic and willing to learn
- 27% – would choose someone who has excellent personal, communication, and time management skills
- 11% – would choose someone who is very dependable/reliable
- 13% – would choose someone who has the right experience and qualifications, but is lacking personal skills
- 12+% – would not hire anyone and would leave the position unfilled indefinitely
Of course, certain professions require specific education, experience, certifications, and training – doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, pilots… But, many professions and positions can be learned as long as you have 1) a company willing to invest in training, and 2) an employee who is eager to learn and be trained (and also has the mental capacity).
So, when hiring your next Administrative Assistant, Executive Assistant, Accounts Payable Clerk, Recruiter, Sales Representative, Legal Assistant, Land Technician… it might be worth taking another look at your position requirements to try to open up the possibilities of attracting new talent who is a notch short of your qualifications, but has all the right potential!
… are a combination of people skills, social skills, communication skills, character or personality traits, attitudes (i.e., work ethic, and a positive, flexible attitude) that don’t depend on acquired knowledge. Good soft skills enable one to successfully navigate their environment, work well with others, perform well, and achieve their goals.