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When You Can't Get Both, Soft Skills Beat Out Experience

March 6th, 2019

How important are soft skills? More important than qualifications and the right experience, say 75% of adults in an online survey.

If the "perfect" candidate can't be found -- and that is so often the case -- then the job should go to the person who has good personal, communications and time-management skills, is enthusiastic and is reliable, rather than to someone without good soft skills, even if they meet all the other requirements.

In a poll conducted for talent and outsourcing company Yoh, only 13% of the poll takers would choose someone who has the right experience and qualifications but is lacking personal skills. The other 12% would keep looking.

The survey wasn't scientific, and it was open to all comers, so we don't know what hiring managers would do. But so strong a response is a clear sign of just how important we all consider the non-technical parts of a job. Drilling down, the poll found Americans most likely to choose someone who is enthusiastic and willing to learn (36%), someone who has excellent personal, communication and time management skills (27%) or is very dependable/reliable (11%).

“These results say two very important things about today’s ultra-competitive job market,” said Emmett McGrath, President of Yoh. “One is that having the right experience and technical skills for a job is not enough – job candidates also need to fit in culturally and have non-technical skills in order to succeed.

“And two, hiring managers who recognize the value of soft skills and are more open in the candidates they consider will almost always be more successful in finding quality candidates than those that prioritize only hard skills. The talent landscape has gotten increasingly complex – and organizations who take a creative, strategic approach to their hiring will rise to the top.”

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