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Differences between "soft skills" and "hard skills"

June 26, 2022

During a personnel selection process , the professionals in charge of choosing the right person for the position carry out a complete evaluation of this person. For this they are based on analysis of their curriculum and in the interview with the candidate for the position.

But this evaluation is not limited only to their training or their professional experience, but the skills that differentiate this person from the rest are increasingly important. They are known as "hard skills" and soft skills " But in what do these skills consist and differ?

The "soft skills" and the "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 the educational or regulated training fields, they become relevant in the labor world, 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 those 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 by constantly repeating their task. We can say that hard skills are all those specific skills that allow to carry out a certain task or work.

Finally, these skills are easy to quantify, so they tend to be highlighted in the resumes and cover letters. In addition, they are easily recognizable by the people who make the selection of personnel.


Among the "hard skills" we find:

  • Degrees or academic certificates
  • Competences in foreign languages
  • 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 interpersonal skills and social that the person who opts to the job possesses. These soft skills are manifested in the different forms with which someone interacts and interacts with others.

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


Some examples of "soft skills" are:

  • Communication capacity
  • Flexibility
  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Patience
  • Persuasive ability
  • 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 "soft skills" and "hard skill", There are three key differences between them that make them more or less important depending to a large extent on the position for which they opt 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 the level of general intelligence or IQ, while being good at soft skills requires more training or emotional intelligence.

2. "Hard skills" are considered equally in all companies

"Hard skills" are skills in which the rules or consideration tend to be the same in most of the companies that require them. . On the contrary, soft skills are abilities or skills that are considered differently according to the culture of the company and the people with whom one works.

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 of them.

Compared, there is no standard procedure or path for the acquisition of interpersonal skills own of the "soft skills".Most soft skills must be learned in people interaction contexts 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 great extent, on the job position to which one aspires and on the career that is intended to be developed.

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"

As they are for example races within the world of the theoretical investigation. In this environment They tend to fit those people with brilliant knowledge but who may not work well as a team or with other people .

2. Careers that require both skills

Within this category are the majority of jobs . In them, workers must have knowledge related to their field, but also have social skills that allow them to perform their work effectively. An example of these careers are the legal profession, clinical psychology or business administration.

3. Careers that require more "soft skills" than "hard skills"

Within this group we can find jobs as commercial, sales or customer service ; since their work depends more on the capacities to communicate and connect with people, as well as skills of persuasion and quick resolution of problems.


Hard Skills vs Soft Skills (June 2022).


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