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In interviewing and selecting candidates, most hiring managers excel in identifying hard skills. Practitioners also refer to Hard Skills as Tangibles, Objective Criteria and variations thereof.

That being the case, these are some broad classification of hard skills:

  1. Paper qualifications
  2. Specific industry exposure
  3. Specific technical skills
  4. Years of experience
  5. Specific languages skills
  6. Age (See below)
  7. Nationality – jobs open to citizens and permanent residents
  8. Etcetera

The key to classifying Hard Skills is objectivity.

Does the candidate have a specific paper qualification – Yes/No. Does the candidate have minimum years of experience in a particular or related industry – Yes/No.

The challenge is in identifying what HR practitioners broadly refer to as Soft Skills – the Intangible Character traits; the Subjective Criteria and elusive X-Factor that defines a great employee from an ‘also ran’ or worse, a destructive addition to the Team.

Over the years, many models and theories sprouted. High-end placement agencies (colloquially referred to as headhunters) even developed and jealously guard their in-house models.

One measure of success is the fees paid versus the results. By this measure, all have had varying degrees of success.

Soft skills continue to remain the challenge.

Even identifying soft skill traits is a challenge – let alone measuring and valuing these skills.