Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills in Recruitment

There’s always been a challenge in intersecting the skills that candidates possess and the skills that employers require to fill their empty positions. While college graduates feel unprepared for their prospective roles, this is where recruitment and staffing agencies come into play. In theory, the ideal candidate will possess a combination of both hard and soft skills, but which ones matter most? In this article series, we’ll differentiate between the two, and evaluate which skills might be more relevant, depending on your client’s needs. As we explore these skill sets, ensure your operation is backed by a Staffing Professional Liability Insurance policy.

Hard skills.

Hard skills are quantifiable, and can be taught in a classroom or gained from on-the-job experience. According to The Balance, these are some examples of hard skills:

  • Proficiency in a foreign language
  • A degree or certificate
  • Typing speed
  • Machine operation
  • Computer programming

These types of proficiencies can be identified easily in a resume or cover letter. So, why are these important? These are factual things that have been learned by the candidate. These skills can be proven to employers to demonstrate a candidate’s worth. These are often listed as must-haves for employers and can guide you in determining who is a good fit for their needs.

Soft skills.

Unlike hard skills, soft skills are not quantifiable, and are also referred to as interpersonal skills. These relate to the way a candidate interacts with people, including other colleagues and customers. Some examples include:

  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Flexibility
  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Work ethic

Why are these important? Soft skills cannot often be taught. Proficiencies such as typing and machine operation can be taught through experience, whereas people skills are harder to train.

How staffing agencies come into play.

If you have an employer who requires a long list of hard skills, it may be challenging to find the exact match. However, if you have a capable candidate who is willing to learn and easily acquires information, you can integrate their soft skill knowledge into their interview. Remember, hard skills can be taught, soft skills cannot.


About World Wide

For the last 50 years, World Wide Specialty Programs has dedicated itself to providing the optimal products and solutions for the staffing industry. As the only insurance firm to be an ASA commercial liability partner, we are committed to that partnership and committed to using our knowledge of the industry to provide staffing firms with the best possible coverage. For more information about Staffing Professional Liability Insurance or any other coverage we have available to protect your staffing business, give us a call at (800) 245-9653 to speak with one of our representatives.