How to Recruit for Soft Skills

Written by Isabelle Larche

Managing Director, Recruitment & Executive Search at Timeo-Performance
Published on 11-04-2019

With disruption and transformation all around us, it is no surprise that our new business reality creates the urgent recruitment need for talents with new technical skills. At the same time, however, it becomes more and more evident that Soft Skills are equally on the rise. Up-skilling and Re-skilling the workforce to keep pace with the evolution of work is now on the CEO agenda. In the past often neglected as a nice-to-have, studies identified Soft Skills as today’s and tomorrow’s most critical differentiator. 

“While hard skills may get a candidate’s foot in the door,
it’s soft skills that ultimately open it.”
Lydia Liu, Head of HR, Home Credit Consumer Finance Co. Ltd.

LinkedIn’s Global Talent Report confirms that “Soft Skills” are on the rise as the top trend transforming our workplace. 

The Rise of Soft Skills 

95% of talent professionals in Southeast Asia agree that Soft Skills are very important to the future of recruiting and HR. 

Soft Skills – Where Machines can’t compete 

Based on LinkedIn data, this is the Top Five of Soft Skills companies need, but have a hard time finding. 

It seems we have all the data we need to recruit successfully. However, how do you identify the Soft Skills most important for your organisation or for that particular role? How do you assess “Creativity”  in an interview? While 80% of talent professionals globally agreed that Soft Skills are increasingly important for their company’s success, 57% struggle to assess Soft Skills accurately and 59% do not have a formal process for assessment. 

6 Tips – How to Assess Soft Skills

Keep up with the rise of Soft Skills and start by implementing the following  helpful tips from the LinkedIn Global Talent Report 2019. 

Tip 1 –  Determine the soft skills valued most at your company

Interview leaders and discuss the soft skills your organization needs to succeed. See what skills your top performers share and also consider what skills you will need to navigate any future challenges. A tool like LinkedIn Skills Insights can give you details of where your employees excel or fall short.

Tip 2 – Identify and define the skills needed for the role

Along with looking for skills needed company-wide, make sure your hiring managers and recruiters agree on the most important soft skills for a given job. Be sure to clearly define any soft skills you will be assessing: since they’re less tangible than hard skills, it is important to confirm everyone is on the same page.

Tip 3 – Consider online tools to prescreen candidates

Tools like Koru, Pymetrics, and others let candidates take quick online assessments as they apply. By analyzing the way candidates answer questions or play games, these tools assess their soft skills systematically and with less bias (ideally). These insights can help guide your interviews to the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.

Tip 4 – Be mindful that bias can creep in

When it comes to soft skills, inconsistent, unstructured interviews are highly susceptible to unconscious bias. For example, you might prefer a candidate because they remind you of yourself (similarity bias), but chalk it up to their “leadership potential” without defining or measuring it.

5. Standardize your interview questions

There’s nothing wrong with asking behavioral and situational interview questions, so long as you are using them consistently. Train interviewers to ask a standard set of questions suited to the skills you are targeting. This allows you to easily compare evaluations, even if they are done by different interviewers.

6. Ask problem-solving questions to see soft skills in action

Expert John Vlastelica advises asking the candidate to solve a problem with hard skills (e.g., outlining a 90-day plan to launch a product). Then introduce constraints and conditions (e.g., only give them 30 days, or double the budget). See how they adapt to change, build on feedback, and communicate their approach.

We at Timeo-Performance are experts in recruiting and developing skills for increased performance of your talents, teams and organisation.

Would you like to know more? Get in touch with us here

About Timeo-Performance

The Skills Factory for your performance in Asia-Pacific

​We are in the Skills Business!
Through recruitment, training and consulting, Timeo-Performance provides solutions for increased performance of companies, teams and individuals.​ ​ As our clients are in the center of global business and often serve the APAC region, our solutions need to be sustainable in a multicultural and remote context.​ ​

Our joint venture with Akteos, the European leader in intercultural training, and partnership with digital learning solutions provider CrossKnowledge have therefore been organic and logical additions to our service.
Timeo-Performance has been helping companies in APAC increase business performance since 2008 with offices in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Timeo-Performance 150 Cecil Street #15-01 | Singapore 069543 | +65 6327 9218 | |



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Isabelle Larche
Isabelle is a Human Performance expert, with over 10 years of professional recruitment experience, and 15 years of Business Management Consulting experience. Isabelle is the Vice President of the French Chamber of Commerce and Trade Counsellor (Singapore Chapter) to the French Embassy.

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