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The Difference Between Hard Skills and Soft Skills

This is a question that is asked in almost all job interviews and to get a good result, you must know how to answer it. If you are experienced in the role you're applying for, it will be easy for you to respond. If you are applying for your first job or your first job in a new industry, answering this question may stump you in the interview.

Not to fear! The landscape of applying for jobs is changing. Skills sets can be sorted into two categories, Soft and Hard Skills. Here is what each one is:

Hard Skills:
Hard Skills are learned abilities developed through practice, repetition, and education. These are skills that are learnt on a job or through education. If you work in construction, these skills would be working with tools, if you're a receptionist, it would be answering phones and entering data to a system.
Hard Skills can be easy to learn if you put in the time and effort and have a great mentor. Like stated previously, they can be learnt on the job, meaning if you are interviewing as an "unskilled worker" you still have a great chance of gaining the role. The reason for this is your Soft Skills.

Soft Skills:
Soft skills are non-technical skills that relate to how you work. These include things such as:

  • Communication skills
  • Great listener
  • Teamwork
  • Time-management
  • Empathy and so on.

As these skills are learnt from a young age and they are very hard to teach a person later in life. This is why hiring managers find these skills so valuable and why you need to know what soft skills you bring to the table!

Studies have shown that hiring managers are employing people based on their Soft Skills over their Hard Skills more often these days. In a recent LinkedIn survey, 92% of respondents say Soft Skills are more important than Hard Skills and 89% responded that bad hires typically lack soft skills.

Preparing for your interview:
Now that you know what information and skills employers look for, it is time to start preparing for the interview. It is important to know what Hard Skills and Soft Skills you have before the interview. Make a list of each and prepare some examples of when you used these skills in the past. E.g. Handling a tough customer through great communication and composure.

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