Soft Skills versus Hard Skills – The right level of expectations

What skills do you expect from potential new employees?

From the employees’ point of view, this question is answered quickly – of course, it mainly depends on their professional experience or their professional qualifications.

Many applicants do not realize at the beginning of a job that they are expected to have a lot of key competencies (which often do not directly affect their training) – above all, this concerns people who have just mastered their training. This can lead to some misunderstandings and, in the long term, to dissatisfaction, both on the part of the employer and the applicant.

Study: Young professionals under pressure

A study by the Hay Group, in which executives and young professionals were interviewed on this topic, has shown that there is a large gap between the views of HR professionals and those of applicants. However, this gap is homemade.

Not from applicants, but from the companies themselves. 69% of young professionals stated that they assume that their professional skills are the most important criterion for a successful job and that emotional intelligence could even be a hindrance to a professional working atmosphere.

On the other hand, 85% of employers considered the applicants’ soft skills to be far more important.

But how could the wrong assumptions on the part of the young professionals develop? Because most of the recruiting processes still run contrary to the company’s actual standards. In the application process, university degrees and training grades are sorted out too early for the person behind them to be recognized with their key competencies.

The young professionals questioned only reflect what is unfortunately going wrong in many companies. As an HR manager, try to counteract this discrepancy. The adage “as you call into the forest, so it rings out” applies here.

Define your own “skills index”

To find the right applicants and to avoid the misunderstandings mentioned above, you should first think about what you actually expect from your new “dream employee”.

What experiences have you had with your previous employees, which characteristics do you find desirable in them, which are more likely to be expandable?

Have you already observed, for example, that even people who initially showed little willingness or ability to communicate have integrated themselves wonderfully into the team after a while?

Or, conversely, think of the applicant you hired because you found their eloquence, self-confidence, and emotional intelligence to be more impressive than their bumpy résumé with little prior knowledge of the advertised area of ​​activity. Has he proven himself to be a willing learner and now an indispensable part of the company?

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Of course, every position to be filled and every applicant is different, and yet, from the point of view of the HR manager, certain guidelines for the most important desired skills can be created, which can help when advertising a position – so that errors are excluded.

Make requirements clear

So that expectations do not develop unnecessarily wrongly, it should already (or above all) be clear from the job description what really matters to you (and your employees).

Clear formulations that suggest a certain openness for applicants who are willing to learn, detailed induction, and the chance of a positive candidate experience, leave room for self-confidence and a positive self-assessment of the possible new team member.

Long lists of requirements are counterproductive here, they “kill” most applicants and are accordingly demotivating. So give yourself and your potential employees a certain amount of leeway. In the end, you decide for yourself to what extent you would actually like to deviate from your actual requirements (whether concerning soft skills or hard skills).

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