Soft Skills Over Hard Skills? Prioritizing the Right Qualities in Your Next Hire

John Cruz
Published on
April 26, 2024
Blog Thumbnail

Table of Content

Subscribe to our newsletter
Read about our privacy policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

In the ever-evolving landscape of the modern workplace, the equation for hiring success is undergoing a shift. While technical expertise (hard skills) remains important, a growing emphasis is being placed on a candidate's soft skills.

This begs the question: Soft skills over hard skills? The answer isn't so binary.  It's more about finding the right balance.

This blog post will delve into the growing importance of soft skills, explore why they're essential for success in today's workplace, and offer guidance on how to prioritize and evaluate them during the hiring process.

The Rise of the Soft Skills

Traditionally, resumes boasted of technical proficiencies and educational qualifications. Hiring managers prioritized candidates who could demonstrably perform the specific tasks outlined in the job description. However, the workplace is no longer a siloed environment. Collaboration, problem-solving, and effective communication are crucial for navigating complex projects, fostering a positive work environment, and achieving organizational goals.

Here's why soft skills are becoming increasingly important:

  • The Collaborative Advantage: Businesses are moving away from a hierarchical structure and towards a more collaborative approach. Teams need to work together effectively to achieve common goals. Soft skills like communication, active listening, and empathy are essential for fostering collaboration and ensuring everyone is on the same page.
  • Adapting to Change: The business landscape is constantly evolving. Companies need employees who can adapt to new technologies, processes, and market trends. Soft skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, and a willingness to learn are key to navigating change and innovation within an organization.
  • Building a Positive Culture:  A company's culture significantly impacts employee morale, productivity, and retention. Soft skills like teamwork, emotional intelligence, and conflict resolution are crucial for fostering a positive and respectful work environment where everyone feels valued and heard.
  • The Human Touch in a Tech-Driven World: While technology automates many tasks, the human element remains irreplaceable. Soft skills like relationship building, active listening, and clear communication ensure success in client interactions, stakeholder management, and team leadership.

Identifying the Right Soft Skills for the Role

The specific soft skills you prioritize will depend on the specific role you're hiring for. Here are some examples:

  • For a customer service role: Excellent communication, empathy, and conflict resolution skills are essential.
  • For a project manager role: Leadership, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills are key.
  • For a marketing role: Collaboration, creativity, and communication skills are crucial.

It's important to go beyond simply listing desired soft skills on the job description. Consider incorporating scenario-based interview questions, behavioral interview techniques, and group exercises to assess a candidate's soft skills in action.

Evaluating Soft Skills During the Hiring Process

Here are some tips for evaluating soft skills during the interview:

  • Ask scenario-based questions: Instead of a generic "Tell me about a time you worked in a team," present a hypothetical situation relevant to the role and ask the candidate to describe their approach.
  • Observe body language and communication style: Pay attention to nonverbal cues like eye contact, active listening, and confident communication.
  • Conduct group interviews or role-playing exercises:  These can reveal teamwork dynamics, problem-solving approaches, and how the candidate interacts with others.
  • Conduct reference checks: Request references who can provide insights into the candidate's soft skills as displayed in previous work experiences.

The Soft Skills Advantage

Building a team with strong soft skills offers a myriad of benefits for your organization:

  • Increased Productivity: Effective communication and collaboration lead to streamlined processes and a more productive work environment.
  • Improved Problem-Solving: Diverse perspectives and a willingness to learn foster innovative solutions to complex challenges.
  • Enhanced Employee Retention: When employees feel valued, heard, and supported, they're more likely to stay with the company.
  • Stronger Company Culture: Soft skills like empathy, respect, and teamwork contribute to a positive and inclusive work environment.


Finding the right balance between hard skills and soft skills is critical for building a successful and adaptable workforce. By prioritizing soft skills in your hiring process, you'll attract candidates who can not only perform the specific tasks but also contribute positively to your company culture and achieve shared goals. Remember, strong soft skills are the foundation upon which technical expertise can truly flourish.

Lennor Metier can help you navigate the hiring process and identify candidates who possess the right blend of hard and soft skills to propel your organization forward.  Contact us today to discuss your recruitment needs and learn how we can help you build a high-performing team.