Don’t Ignore Soft Skills When Interviewing Candidates

As a recruiter, hiring manager, or HR professional, you can look at a candidate’s resume, and it’s fairly easy to determine their professional and academic qualifications.  

But what about the intangible qualities that influence how well a candidate can communicate and work with others? Those abilities – typically known as “soft skills” – are also important components of finding the right person for your open position.  

Today, as more companies chase the top talent, soft skills will continue to grow in importance. While hard skills are teachable, its the inherent soft skills that can often mean the difference between success and failure in a hire.  

Listed below are examples of some of the most important soft skills to consider when recruiting to fill your next opening: 

Work Ethic 

This soft skill is high on every employer’s list – and top performers have a strong work ethic and a determination to achieve targets. This can be a difficult skill to assess but should be apparent from the candidate’s achievements and confirmed by reference checks. 

Communication Skills 

The importance of communication skills should never be under-estimated in recruitment. Communication means being able to articulate well, listen, and also be aware of body language. Unlike writing aptitude, which is seen as a hard skillthe ability to understand and be understood, coupled with the willingness and ability to listen can lead to a successful new hire. 


Take a look at most resumes and they focus on individual achievements. But the majority of roles call for a team player – someone able to collaborate. To learn more about potential collaboration skills, ask candidates about group projects they’ve taken part in either as a leader or in a support role. And don’t forget to ask about teamwork when carrying out reference checks. 


In most cases, the best hires are self-starters who are able to work with minimal supervision. Motivation is a difficult one to measure but a resume that reflects a varied and active life outside of the working environment is a good indicator of someone whos curious and more likely to be self-motivated. 


Creativity is one of the most sought after skills as it generally means the candidate has innovative ideas and problem-solving abilities. Its also an innate, rather than a teachable, skill. Competency-based questions that highlight creative thinking, innovation, and problem-solving should be part of the interview process.  


Creativity is often accompanied by flexibility. Candidates with this soft skill can think outside the box and are confident that everything will work out for the best. They possess the ability to adapt to change and challenges rather than remain on a fixed path or get mired in a temporary setback. 

A Final Thought 

Having employees with the right soft skills is crucial to building a team with a strong talent mix. A resume can only tell so much about what really makes a candidate tick. When hiring, it’s important to identify the soft skills required for the job and ask the right questions during the interview process. Doing so will help ensure you find someone who will thrive in your open role. 

 Lanmark Staffing has over 40 years of combined experience in human resources, recruiting, temporary placement, sales and management, and temp-to-hire services. Contact us today – our team of local and experienced professionals can help you meet your hiring needs quickly and effectively.  


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