City Personnel Blog

Soft Skills are Crucial when it Comes to Hiring

June 1, 2020
Each job requires the requisite hard skills and experience for the role. But although these qualities are desirable, searching for "soft skills" when considering a new candidate is becoming increasingly crucial, especially when navigating hiring in this "new normal".
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Soft skills are often put on the back burner when vetting candidates, but these traits are highly desirable, as they help boost productivity and communication within your organization. Most importantly, these skills are often found in exceptional candidates who have the potential to set the pace for the rest of the team.

Putting too much emphasis on hard skills and not enough on soft skills is one of the the biggest mistakes most employers and recruiters make in their hiring process. Soft skills are hard to teach, but hard skills can (almost) always be developed or improved. The time and energy you hope to save by hiring super-competent, experienced applicants could be wasted by having to deal with intolerance, lack of flexibility, a “I know-it-all” attitude, and sometimes a costly frustration when you need to terminate the one who seemed too perfect at the start.

As a recruiter or hiring manager, on-boarding the right candidate for the right job or the right company takes focus and dedication. There’s a rare balance that needs to be maintained. What if your candidate has all the right hard skills but none of the inclusive, diversifying traits that would ensure they’re a perfect fit?

Moreover, given recent global events, are soft skills more important than ever?

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are a combination of people skills, social skills, communication skills, character or personality traits, attitudes, career attributes, social intelligence, and emotional intelligence quotients that enable employees to navigate their environment, work well with others, perform well and achieve their goals with complementing hard skills.

Communication skills

This is what comes to mind when we think of soft skills that boost productivity in the workplace. Communication skills are important especially for a company that relies on team collaboration. Your candidate might just be the missing factor to coordinate, encourage and set the pace for the team to communicate more effectively.

Leadership skills

Critical for management and consultancy roles, but valuable for junior positions as well. Leadership skills ensure that your team always has a solid pillar to lean on or go to for direction.


It goes without saying that creativity is necessary for success. Recruiting candidates who constantly strive to innovate and change the status quo adds a refreshing and exciting element to any company. These recruits are the “make or break” factor that pushes the entire team forward.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking and problem solving go hand in hand. Though some roles leave very little room for it, it’s handy for crisis management and aversion. Candidates with a sense of critical thinking can help their coworkers achieve more in less time, and even re-orient their way of thinking under pressure.


A candidate that can be relied on to get things done, and done right. Dependable employees are the cornerstone of a company. This particular soft skill usually sees them climbing high in the company’s hierarchy.


Empathy simply means that the candidate will be an agreeable person. This is important for inclusion in company culture. The goal is to hire individuals that are easy to work and get along with.

Adaptability & Time Management Skills

This particular soft skill is extremely important for employers and is surprisingly a very common trait for creative employees. Such a candidate can be trusted to make the most of their time and push the limits of their work to further improve the workplace’s efficiency.

How can I hire for soft skills?

An updated resume and cover letter say a lot about the candidate prior to the interview. The way they’re written can convey emphasis on examples of teamwork, collaboration, or general flair for creativity.

Alternatively, there are many questions that can be asked during the interview phase to determine whether the candidate possesses the soft skills you’re looking for. Asking for examples of crisis situations that they’ve solved portrays critical thinking and dependability. Asking about examples of conflict resolution in the workplace can display empathy and leadership. Their proudest professional moment and most difficult or undefined task can indicate communication, creativity, and adaptability.

The candidate’s answers demonstrate just what type of employee they will be post-placement.

Why now?

With the coronavirus pandemic, a large number of companies have taken their operations to the virtual world, allowing their employees to work remotely to ensure their safety and that of their colleagues.

In this type of setting, it’s expected that motivation and productivity would dip to a certain degree. However, employees that possess soft skills will almost certainly drive the team into a momentum that surpasses that of an active workplace.

Hiring for the right balance of soft and hard skills gives you employees that would prosper in any sort of environment.

Targeting the right combination of soft skills takes a very well defined approach. It’s also a time-consuming and difficult task, but given the demand and necessity of soft skills, especially in these trying times, it’s a task that’s well worth the effort. City Personnel’s team of talented recruiters in RI are here to help you fill your open positions with top caliber candidates.

Looking to rebuild your team? We can help! It’s our business to help your business grow. City Personnel has built a solid reputation on our ability to provide you with a tailored recruitment experience. We believe that a human approach is the only approach, because your staffing needs amount to so much more than just a resume. Contact our top rated staffing company in RItoday at 401-331-2311 or email