Soft skills vs. hard skills: What really matters?

Whereas in the past mainly Report card grades, school and universityrespectively Vocational training degrees and acquired qualifications the decisive factors the recruitment of a candidate, nowadays completely different skills are increasingly coming to the fore: the so-called soft skills. This is also reflected in the Job postings reflected. Hardly any job ad comes today still without the requirements Ability to work in a team, high level of initiative or Communication skills out. But not always these Attributes easy to measure. thisfore it is worthwhile for recruiters and companies often to take a closer look at the resumes of potential candidates


What are hard skills?

Hard skills are technical abilities that are acquired, for example, in the course of vocational and university training, in advanced training, courses, seminars or similar. In addition to grades, these also include, for example language or PowerPoint knowledge.


What are soft skills?

In contrast to hard skills, soft skills comprise personal, social and methodological competencies. However they are significantly more difficult to verify as Hard Skills. Soft skills are often divided into personal values (e.g. fairness, respect, reliability), personal qualities (e.g. composure, patience, friendliness), individual skills (e.g. critical faculties, listening skills, enthusiasm) and social skills (dealing with other people: Ability to work in a team, empathy, communication skills).. However, the transitions between the different categories are fluid, so no soft Skill can be assigned exclusively to one category.


What are examples of soft skills?

Examples of soft skills abound. Soft skills, which are especially important for work and career, are also called business skills. These include:

  • Communication skills
  • Charisma
  • Load capacity
  • Empathy
  • Flexibility
  • Intercultural competence
  • Adaptability
  • Presentation Strength
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Assertiveness


How do I recognize the different skills?

Hard skills are usually relatively easy for companies to identify. The grades on the report card indicate whether a candidate’s strengths lie in mathematics, German or chemistry. Foreign language skills can also be quickly tested, for example by spontaneously switching languages during an interview. Furthermore show certificates e.g. about taking Excel courses, programming courses etc., which professional skills a candidate has to demonstrate.

More difficult than filtering out hard skills is identifying soft skills. While a cover letter can already tell you if a candidate is creative and the interview can also show whether the candidate is more introverted or extroverted. or extroverted, but many soft skills are difficult to find out from an interview alone, because hardly anyone would say about themselves that they are not a team player or not resilient.

Therefore, it is usually worthwhile for companies a closer look at the resume. Even though many candidates and companies Hobbies or volunteer activities may not seem necessary on a resume at first glance, but they can offer important clues about soft skills. Does the candidate play a team sport? Then probably a team player. Is he perhaps even a captain? Then he is used to taking responsibility and strong leadership. Does he play an instrument? Then it is probably more of a creative candidate.

Some companies want to know exactly and find out which skillswhat skills their candidates bring with them. Possible tools for this are psychological tests and assessment centers. Depending on the company and position, the assessment Center can be structured quite differently. From simple mental arithmetic tasks to the processing of case studies alone or in a team, everything is conceivable. Both hard and soft skills can be tested.

A new recruiting trend in this context is the so-called Gamification. Instead of monotonous selection procedures, recruiters rely on a playful modern assessment center, which is based on video games. However, thisis still a marginal phenomenon. LAccording Tim Weitzel, Professor of Business Informatics at the University of Bamberg Currently, 2.5% of the top 1,000 companies offer such Recruiting Games on – And the trend is upward. Positive side effect: Not only are various skills tested, but depending on the situation, an insight into the company can also be provided. and advertising can be made for the own company.

Psychological tests are also are now widespread in application procedures. The Be favorite is the Myers-Briggs typenindicator, in which which divides people into 16 different personalitytypes can be classified. The fand the Ruhr University Bochum in a survey of 120 companies in 2016. Behind it followsthe DISG model, which identifies four personality types, each of which is assigned a specific color.How meaningful such tests are, however, is still disputed today.

However, it should be noted that for both the company and the candidate, the assessment center means a lot of effort.. Therefore, it should be carefully considered in advance if an extensive assessment center for the advertised position is really necessary or if perhaps a smaller task is enough, for example to test the creativity.


Which skills are more important?

Both hard skills and soft skills have their uses.Significance, however it cannot be said that either one is more important. The skills an employee must have depend heavily on the position and the corporate culture. That’s why companies and recruiters should think carefully about what skills are important for a job profile to be filled and what should be paid attention to. However, in most cases it is the case that the technical expertise, i.e. the hard skills alone are not sufficient without the soft skills.

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