Hard Skills VS Soft Skills

Hard Skills VS Soft Skills

June 9, 2023

by Tetyana Utlova, Recruitment Lead at InterLogic


I have a fascinating job. More than 2 years I work as a recruiter, during this time I've probably had more conversations in HR interviews than in my entire life😅
The nature of my responsibilities is to facilitate the initial connection between candidates and the company. As a recruiter, I’m reflection of the values, vision, and attitude that the company embodies.
As you know we can't make a first impression twice, right? And now, I’m talking about both sides)

I witnessed the hiring processes of top specialists, but unfortunately, there were also a considerable number of rejections. As a recruiter in the IT industry, I constantly come across job seekers who focus solely on their hard skills.
Why does it happen that sometimes you might receive a rejection even if your technical skills are a match?

When it comes to hiring in this competitive landscape, recruiters often face the challenge of evaluating candidates based on both hard skills and soft skills. Let's dive into the distinction between these two types of skills and explore their significance in the IT industry.
Let's briefly remind ourselves what they are just in case someone has forgotten)

Hard skills in IT refer to technical abilities such as programming languages, database management, software development, and cybersecurity. These skills are teachable, measurable, and form the foundation of a candidate's technical competencies. However, the IT industry is constantly evolving, and it's crucial for professionals to keep up with the latest trends and technologies.
Therefore, for hard skills, the following characteristics can be observed:
- A list of knowledge and abilities that can be objectively assessed and verified.
- Documentation of education and qualifications.
- Certificates indicating the level of proficiency in specific skills.

On the other hand, soft skills in IT refer to personal attributes such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, adaptability, and emotional intelligence. These skills are often overlooked but are critical for building effective teams, communicating with stakeholders, and delivering successful projects.
Obtaining soft skills doesn't come from universities, manuals, or courses. They are developed throughout life, influenced by upbringing and life experience. For example, some individuals possess self-control from childhood, while others learn to manage their emotions over time due to circumstances.

🔺The most common and highly sought-after soft skills include:
1. Teamwork: The ability to work effectively in a team.
2. Critical thinking: The skill of analyzing and evaluating information to make informed decisions.
3. Leadership: The capacity to guide and inspire others towards achieving goals.
4. Creativity: The ability to think innovatively and generate new ideas.
5. Deadline management: The skill of meeting project timelines and managing time effectively.
6. Responsibility and discipline: Being accountable for one's actions and maintaining a disciplined approach.
These skills are valuable in any field, but their development requires time and patience.


During the interview you can highlight key soft skills by:

  • Showing up on time or early to the interview (punctuality or dependability)
  • Maintaining eye contact (active listening)
  • Speaking clearly when prompted (effective communication)
  • Answering questions about your resume and experience honestly (integrity)
  • Asking follow-up questions (active listening)

In the IT industry, it's essential to have a synergy between hard and soft skills. While hard skills may get you through the door, it's soft skills that differentiate you from other candidates.

Most companies firstly consider the candidate's technical expertise but also evaluate their ability to collaborate, communicate effectively, and adapt to new situations. I am looking for individuals who can demonstrate leadership qualities and emotional intelligence and could work in a team environment.
Developing both hard and soft skills is an ongoing process that requires commitment and dedication. Individuals can enhance their hard skills through formal education, vocational training, and continuous learning opportunities. Soft skills, on the other hand, can be cultivated through various means, such as participating in team projects, seeking feedback, attending workshops or seminars, and practicing effective communication and emotional intelligence in daily interactions.

In conclusion, as an IT recruiter, I emphasize the importance of both hard and soft skills in this industry. While technical expertise is essential, it's soft skills that make a candidate stand out and excel in their role. By continuously developing their hard and soft skills, individuals can position themselves as valuable assets in the competitive IT job market.

P.S. a piece of inspiration)
I really love the iceberg model above shows that competency components; knowledge and attitude, the visible parts of the iceberg are the easiest elements to change. Those below the iceberg that drives the person's attitude are harder to change. Performance is driven less by knowledge and skills but more by attitude.

 “Don’t underestimate Soft Skills – Hard Skills are just the tip of the iceberg”