When to Prioritize Soft Skills Over Experience

When it comes to recruiting a team of solid employees, you may need to prioritize soft skills over experience. There are often aspects of a prospective employee’s personality that may override any lack of experience, such as determination or intellect. After all, someone who has extensive experience may not fit right with your company because they have different personality traits and values. 

A young, inexperienced candidate may have the right soft skills for the job you are hiring for. They will interact with their fellow employees  and customers and keep an open mind about improving. A candidate with lots of employee experience may become cynical and simply want to get paid for the false security that they bring as a good employee on paper.

Although someone with years of experience may require less training and liabilities, they may not be a good cultural fit.

When to Prioritize Soft Skills

Entry Level Positions

When you are hiring for an entry-level position, experience may not be necessary. Yet, companies often still put education or experience requirements for a job that is easily learned. In this case, by getting rid of those requirements, companies can attract more candidates that may be a better fit for their company. For example, Chick-fil-A is better suited to find people who fit their unique culture and then develop their skills.

Trainable Positions

The automotive industry is the perfect example of where personality is more important than technical skills. There are many jobs in the automotive field that don’t require a lot of experience because they can be trained. A candidate with the right mental makeup can be handed a wrench or an impact gun and be instructed on how to rotate a set of tires or how to record brake wear inspections. The most important aspect of hiring a trainee is that they accept the instruction of their peers and are willing to learn and grow.

An employee must have the soft skills of accepting direction and working with others in this scenario. These employees may be willing to accept lower salaries because they are coming on board through an apprentice program. 

Culture-Centric Company

If your company is very culture centric, prioritizing soft skills and cultural fit is crucial to an individual’s success. Choosing someone who will match your outgoing team who is willing to learn may be a better fit than someone who has more experience but keeps to themselves. While the candidate with more experience may be the obvious choice at first, they won’t thrive within an outgoing culture if they are forced to work in an environment that does not suit them.

 

How to Assess Soft Skills

During an Interview

Assessing soft skills during an interview can be difficult. Other than sensing if someone is outgoing or shy, other traits like intellect and morality are difficult to assess. Preparing with specialized interview questions is important to using interview time well.

Here are a few interview questions we recommend to assess soft skills.

Utilizing Pre-Hire Assessments

Our Applicant Matching System utilizes Artificial Intelligence and Psycholinguistics to determine the mental makeup of your company’s top performers. From there, all candidates who take the survey are associated with a Mental Makeup Analysis. They are also matched against their Success Profile to see if they match well with the company. The Mental Makeup Analysis shows their top personality traits and values.

In conclusion, assessing soft skills is a great way to expand your candidate pool from those who simply have the  best resume or education. Consider using soft skills as an extra tool to finding and hiring the best employees for your company.


Learn more about how SENTIO’s Applicant Matching System can help you assess soft skills and mental makeup in order to make the best hires for your company at mysentio.com.