in ,

Differences between “soft skills” and “hard skills”

During a recruitment process , the professionals in charge of choosing the right person for the position carry out a complete evaluation of this person. To do this, they are based on an analysis of your resume. and on the interview with the candidate for the position.

But this evaluation is not only reduced to their training or professional experience, but the skills that differentiate this person from the rest are becoming more and more important. They are known as “hard skills” and soft skills “ but what do these skills consist of and are they different from?

Soft skills and hard skills in the world of work

Despite the fact that both “hard skills” and “soft skills” are acquired throughout life and not only in educational or formal training areas, they become relevant within the world of work, specifically in the processes of personnel selection and in the development of work tasks.

1. “Hard skills” or hard skills

By “hard skills” we understand all the knowledge acquired through formal educational training, as well as through professional experience. These skills are likely to be taught in academic settings.

Generally, the person learns the “hard skills” in the classroom, through the use of books or other materials , or at work through constant repetition of their task. We can say that hard skills are all those specific skills that allow you to carry out a certain task or job.

Finally, these skills are easy to quantify, which is why they tend to stand out on resumes and cover letters. In addition, they are easily recognizable by the people who carry out the recruitment.

Among the “hard skills” we find:

  • Academic degrees or certificates
  • Foreign language skills
  • Typing skills
  • Computer programming
  • Industrial machinery handling

2. “Soft skills” or soft skills

On the other hand, “soft skills” are much more difficult to quantify and refer to the interpersonal and social skills possessed by the person applying for the job. These soft skills are manifested in the different ways in which someone relates and interacts with others.

These competences are not learned in the academic field, but are acquired throughout a person’s life, in their day-to-day life. In addition, they are directly related to the concept of emotional intelligence and are conditioned by the personality of the person and by the development of their social skills.

Some examples of “soft skills” are:

  • Communication skills
  • Flexibility
  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Patience
  • Persuasiveness
  • Problem solving skills
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Work ethics

Key differences between them

Although with the mere description of these we can already get an idea of ??the main differences between the “soft skills” and the “hard skills”, there are three key differences between them that make them more or less important depending largely on the position for the job. that is chosen and the type of career that you want to develop.

1. Each of them requires different intelligences

Traditionally, being good at hard skills is associated with general intelligence (IQ) level , while being good at soft skills requires more training or emotional intelligence. .

2. “Hard skills” are considered in the same way in all companies

Hard skills are skills in which the rules or consideration tend to be the same in most companies that require them . On the contrary, soft skills are capacities or skills that are considered differently depending on the culture of the company and the people with whom you work.

3. They require different learning processes

As we already mentioned, “hard skills” can be learned in schools, academies and universities. That is, they start from a regulated training and there are different levels of competence, as well as a pre-established path to learn each one of them.

In comparison, there is no standardized route or procedure for the acquisition of interpersonal skills typical of “soft skills”. Most soft skills must be learned in contexts of human interaction and almost always by trial and error.

However, there are a large number of books and guides that allow people to know and practice the basic aspects of social skills , although they will always be conditioned by the personality of the subject.

Which are more important?

The answer to this question will depend, to a large extent, on the job to which you aspire and the career you intend to develop.

There are three different types of careers that can be classified into the following categories:

1. Careers that require high “hard skills” and few “soft skills”

Such as, for example, careers within the world of theoretical research. In this environment, people with brilliant knowledge but who may not work well in a team or with other people tend to fit in .

2. Careers that require both skills

Within this category are most jobs . In them, workers must have knowledge related to their field, but also possess social skills that allow them to carry out their work effectively. An example of these careers is law, clinical psychology, or business administration.

3. Careers that require more “soft skills” than “hard skills”

Within this group we can find jobs such as salespeople, salespeople or customer service ; since their work depends more on the abilities to communicate and connect with people, as well as persuasion skills and quick problem solving.


Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences