Screening, Assessment, Interviewing

The Value of Soft Skills for Job Applicants

Even in a favorable job climate for applicants, it’s still important to be able to stand out from the competition. Applicants and recruiters always place a lot of focus on the skills, experience, and other qualifications that show up well on paper—i.e., résumés and cover letters.

Skill

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A Premium on Soft Skills

Experience, education, and job skills are certainly key, but at the end of the day, we still need to be a part of an organization, and a survey from Yoh demonstrates that recruiters place a premium on soft skills that make a candidate a more desirable employee and coworker.

The survey found that, if hiring for a job and the perfect candidate didn’t exist, 75% of employers would most likely hire a job candidate who has soft skills and not the right experience or qualifications.

Looking more specifically at those soft skills, the survey found that when the perfect candidate does not exist, rather than selecting an applicant with direct experience and qualifications but poor personal skills, employers would most likely pick someone who:

  • Is enthusiastic and willing to learn (36%);
  • Has excellent personal, communication, and time management skills (27%); or
  • Is very dependable/reliable (11%).

“Only 13% of Americans say they would most likely choose someone who has the right experience and qualifications but is lacking personal skills,” according to the survey. “Just over 12% say they most likely wouldn’t hire anyone and would leave the position unfilled indefinitely.”

Discovering Soft Skills

The survey results demonstrate that although skills, directly related qualifications, and experience are important, other factors can make up for a lack of these. The challenge for applicants is demonstrating they possess these soft skills and for recruiters to discover the soft skills the survey results suggest they value.

This highlights the importance for applicants to have good references and for recruiters to take the time to talk to those references, as these skills don’t necessarily come across on paper.