skills, soft skills, hard skills

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When it comes to soft skills, more than half value teamwork (57%) and communication (55%); while for hard skills, analytical (53%) and high-level IT skills (49%) came out top.

A survey by Zety has identified the top 10 soft and hard skills that recruiters and hiring managers considered most valuable. This 2020 survey, which sought the opinion of 205 recruiters and hiring managers in the US*, also revealed how to truly verify whether candidates possessed these skills.

The survey included but was not limited to ‘yes or no’ questions and questions that permitted open responses.

When asked about the most desired soft skills, the response was as follows:

  1. Teamwork (57%)
  2. Communication (55%)
  3. Time management (46%)
  4. Problem-solving (45%)
  5. Creativity (44%)
  6. Leadership (40%)
  7. Organisation (34%)
  8. Emotional intelligence (33%)
  9. Decision-making (28%)
  10. Stress management (15%)

When asked about hard skills, the respondents indicated the following:

  1. Analytical skills (53%)
  2. High-level IT skills (49%)
  3. Basic computer knowledge (47%)
  4. Customer service skills (44%)
  5. Presentation skills (43%)
  6. Team management (42%)
  7. Project management (39%)
  8. Marketing (37%)
  9. Writing (19%)
  10. Graphic design (15%)

With technology being essential to our daily lives, it is no surprise that many recruiters value high-level IT skills and basic computer knowledge. With the increase in remote working, computer literacy is highly desired.

*Note: While this survey was conducted in the US, HRO believes the findings would be applicable to the wider audience. 

Overall, per the survey, most respondents valued soft skills (61%), in comparison to hard skills (39%).

Apart from the above, the survey also revealed several techniques recruiters used to verify a potential employee’s skills,

For example, one respondent utilised pre-employment tests to identify the most competent candidates. Another respondent would ask candidates to rank their own performance during their previous employment. Another would ask some qualities of the candidate’s previous employees that they considered a strength, in order to reveal the candidate’s own valued skills.


Image / 123RF

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