When we look at our ageing workforce and the growing ‘skills gap’, most of us assume we’re talking about a technical skills gap. But a recent survey of 500 U.S. senior executives found that the soft skills might be the real area of concern.


44 per cent of respondents cited soft skills — such as communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration — as the area with the biggest gap. 22 per cent cited a lack of technical skills as the culprit for the U.S. skills gap, followed by with leadership with 14 per cent and computer skills with 12 per cent.


When it comes to temporary and contract workers, soft skills have an even bigger part to play. Adaptability, strong work ethic, reliability, good communication skills – these are all soft skills that a truly great temp will have.


So when you’re hiring next, consider what soft skills are important to the role and ask for them in the job description. When you’re screening and interviewing candidates, you should be digging for examples of times when they displayed those soft skills. Ask those oh-so-important behavioural interview questions to give you a better idea of what someone will be like on the job. Can they givenyou tangible examples of times when they had to be a leader or worked well under pressure? Do they give articulate and concise responses that demonstrate good communication skills?


And if you’re working with us, you’ll also receive Workstyle & Performance Profile for every candidate we submit, which will give you a more rounded picture of a person’s inherent work behaviours.


It’s time to prioritize soft skills in the hiring process and train your hiring managers on how to recruit for them. They can be hard to identify during hiring if you don’t know how to drill down into a candidate’s skillset. And by the sounds of that recent survey, they’re becoming even harder and harder to find.