When job hunting or looking for the right candidate, it’s very easy to only focus on hard skills. However, soft skills are just as important and should not be overlooked. Soft skills can set some candidates apart from others and increase effectiveness in the work place. At ProRecruiters, part of our process is to interview both hard skills and soft skills. Exploring both skillsets allow us to make effective partnerships and work on behalf of both the Client and Candidate. We have listed seven soft skills that can enhance employee portfolios and also help clients identify great candidates.

The first soft skill is communication. Communication goes beyond the words we speak and include verbal and non-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication includes: body language, facial expressions, posture and eye contact. Effective verbal communication is speaking, listening, understanding and providing clear responses related to the conversation. Being an effective communicator can improve many of our interactions and situations in the workplace.

The second soft skill we think is important is problem-solving skills. There are times events go as planned and times they do not. It’s important to focus on how to effectively fix a problem to move beyond the problem itself. As employees and employers, it’s important to be innovative and come up with effective solutions to workplace problems. Some skills to practice to improve problem-solving are: active listening, analysis, research, creativity and decision making.

The next soft skill is leadership. Leadership is crucial to advance in a career and a great skill to have or look for in a candidate. Aspects of leadership include: integrity, relationship building, decisiveness, dependability and the ability to teach and mentor. Effective leaders demonstrate these aspects to motivate and organize a team to fulfill company mission and succeed.

In 2020, teamwork makes the dream work and should be a skill actively being worked on. Teamwork includes working together to achieve a shared goal. Teamwork can be hard, but when done correctly, has many benefits including: more efficiency, more knowledge and less turnover in the workplace. Working together can mesh different skillsets and allow each team member to learn from each other and improve on individual strengths and group strengths.

Emotional Intelligence is essential when in leadership. Emotional intelligence includes identifying and controlling emotions of yourself and of others. To operate in emotional intelligence, enhancing in areas like self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation and empathy are important. These are ways to recognize how each individual, including yourself, fit in an equation, how others are interpreting situations and how to move beyond those emotions and find balanced solutions and situations.

If there was a soft skill that was mastered in 2020, it would be adaptability. This year has been a year of changing environments and everyone was forced to adapt to the good and bad. However, the good news is we all developed more in this area. Another way to describe adaptability is flexibility. Some ways to practice effective flexibility include: evaluate the environment and monitoring change, being eager to learn in unfamiliar, different areas  and not procrastinating.

The last soft skill we will cover is work ethic. Work ethic includes the aspects of being on time and achieving deadlines. Employees can show their dedication, productivity, accountability, professionalism and discipline by concentrating on good work ethic habits.

At ProRecruiters, soft skills and hard skills are equally important. We try to demonstrate these soft skills in our own roles and within our own company, in addition, to interviewing with these in mind. While there are many other soft skills that are valued and equally important, we feel these are seven great soft skills to look for in candidates and also work on as an employee.