Human resource managers usually look for a combination of hard skills and soft skills. Applicants usually present a balance. But who wins out in the battle between hard skills and soft skills?
Well, first, let’s define each one.
Hard skills are defined as direct job-related knowledge and abilities employees need to perform their duties effectively. For example, specific programming languages, frameworks, and tools, are some relevant hard skills for a developer.
Soft skills are more often related to personality and qualities that help employees become part of a workplace. The ability to collaborate, problem-solving, and time management are some soft skills examples.
Human resource managers should stay focused on their goal of finding the best candidate, instead of trying to win the battle between hard skills and soft skills.
Look for qualities that make candidates a good fit for the work environment after you’ve determined they can actually perform the job.
Calling references or giving the candidate a test are a couple ways of testing hard skills. Or you can look at the candidate’s portfolio or ask role-specific interview questions to evaluate their hard skills.
Situational and behavioural interview questions can help assess soft skills. Human resource managers are especially trained to gauge soft skills through behavioural observation. You can also evaluate the candidate’s soft skills by giving them personality tests.
Education and or years of learning on-the-job can help employees develop hard skills. On the other hand, soft skills can be developed through various personal or professional life experiences.
For example, accountants take technical courses to become experts in their field. Whereas, they may grow their soft skills by volunteering in the community.
Beware that where hard skills are cut and dry and easy enough to measure, soft skills are a bit more subjective and could be determined differently by different people.