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6 Soft Skills to Look for When Hiring Top Talent

As one of Jackson’s leading staffing agencies, Staffers knows that when you’re looking to hire, you need to go well beyond a candidate’s technical skills and dig into their soft skills as well. After all, the very best candidates have a solid mix of hard and soft skills, allowing them to succeed and add value to your organization from day one.

So what soft skills should you be on the lookout for – and how can you screen for them? Here’s a look at six soft skills:

Emotional intelligence.

You’ve probably heard this phrase thrown around a lot. But what does it mean? Emotional intelligence (EI) is simply the skill of perceiving, understanding and managing emotions. And professionals with strong EI are better able to connect with managers, co-workers and customers.

Hiring tip: During the hiring process, look for candidates who are honest about themselves and take accountability for any career stumbles. Also, ask questions that invite candidates to talk about how they dealt with stressful situations and difficult people at work.


Work cannot be done in a vacuum and everyone will eventually need to collaborate. The best candidates will be able to develop strong relationships with colleagues, as well as be confident in sharing ideas, and giving and accepting constructive criticism.

Hiring tip: In many instances, candidates who are good collaborators will use the word “we” instead of “I” during an interview. Also, ask questions about how they’ve interacted with other team members and departments in the past to achieve company-wide goals.


Strong communication skills are important in almost every position. And when it comes to making a hiring decision, excellent communication skills could be the difference between a good candidate and a great one.

Hiring tip: Carefully evaluate a candidate’s writing skills in the cover letter they sent you, as well as in subsequent emails. In addition, during the interview look for candidates who are succinct and articulate when answering questions.

Work ethic.

Technical skills can be taught. Work ethic, oftentimes, cannot. It’s something that’s typically ingrained in people by the time they become adults – and it’s what compels them to care about the quality of their work and delivering excellent results.

Hiring tip: There are a variety of employment tests that allow you to screen for dependability, trustworthiness, attendance and compliance. In addition, talk with each candidate about their past accomplishments and how they achieved them.

Time management.

Even those with strong hard and soft skills can be unproductive if they don’t have solid time-management skills. This includes the ability to prioritize work, meet deadlines and juggle multiple tasks.

Hiring tip: Ask candidates questions about what system they use to effectively manage their time and prioritize work.


Candidates with drive are hungry and motivated to succeed. They place value on staying on the leading edge of trends, technology and new developments in the industry. They’re often considered early adopters and can help your company gain and maintain a competitive edge as a result.

Hiring tip: During the interview, ask candidates about what they did to prepare for the interview. Ambitious people will often have prepared extensively, going above and beyond other candidates.

Do you need more help finding top talent with the right mix of hard and soft skills? Call Staffers. As one of Jackson’s leading staffing agencies, we’ve developed long-term relationships with hundreds of satisfied clients who consistently tell us that we deliver the most qualified talent. And we can do the same for you. Just contact us today if you’re ready for A-level employees.

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