If you are a Hiring Manager and want to recruit the best candidates who will find career success with your company, having the right hard skills and the right soft skills in your job descriptions will be crucial.
However, there are many hard and soft skills for Hiring Managers to consider, whether they are writing a traditional JD or a skills-based job description. From leadership skills to personal skills, verbal communication skills, written communication, emotional intelligence, technical knowledge, leadership skills, and task management, picking the most relevant and best skills, to put in a job listing skills section, is the key to attracting the attention of the best job seekers.
So, how do you get your hiring process and job copy just right and recruit your dream entry-level, mid-level, or senior management candidate?
In this blog on key skills for job descriptions, we explore the following:
- What is a skills-based job description?
- Why use skills-based hiring?
- How to write a skills-based job description
- The specific skills to put in a job description skills section
- Soft and hard skills for all job descriptions
What Is A Skills-Based Job Description?
A skills-based job description is a type of job description that emphasises the specific skills and abilities a candidate must possess to perform the role successfully. Rather than focusing heavily on qualifications or previous job titles, a skills-based job description prioritises the competencies necessary for the role. This can include a mix of hard skills, such as proficiency in a particular software or tool, and soft skills, like communication or problem-solving. The idea is to identify the core competencies required to excel in the position.
Skills-based job descriptions can be more inclusive and may help to attract a wider range of candidates. By focusing on soft skills rather than specific experience or qualifications, it opens up the opportunity for candidates who may have obtained relevant skills in non-traditional ways.
It’s particularly useful for roles in fast-evolving industries, where the ability to learn and adapt can be more important than past experience. Furthermore, such a job description can help potential applicants better understand what will be expected of them and allow them to assess their own suitability for the role based on their skill set.
Why Use Skills-Based Hiring?
Skills-based hiring is a practice where employers focus on a candidate’s skills, rather than their degrees, work history, or even job titles. This approach can help businesses identify the best candidates who have the specific abilities and required skills for the job.
A key advantage of this is that it broadens the talent pool by not excluding those who may have acquired relevant skills through unconventional pathways. By focusing on soft skills, employers also increase the likelihood of finding candidates who can perform the job effectively, as they are assessing competency directly related to the tasks at hand.
In addition to this, skills-based hiring can contribute to diversity and inclusion efforts within a whole company culture. Traditional hiring methods can often inadvertently favour certain demographics who have had more access to education or specific career paths. By concentrating on soft skills rather than pedigree, employers can help level the playing field and provide equal opportunities to all potential candidates, regardless of their background. This not only fosters diversity but also has been shown to benefit business performance and innovation.
How To Write A Skills-Based Job Description
Writing a skills-based job description involves carefully considering the specific competencies necessary to excel in the role and communicating those clearly to potential applicants. Instead of focusing on qualifications or years of experience, the emphasis should be on the core skills, and abilities a successful candidate should possess. This approach can help attract a wide range of candidates and make it easier to identify those who are truly suited for the job.
When writing a skills-based job description, the duties and responsibilities of the job should be defined in terms of the skills required. Potential applicants should be able to look at the job description and understand what abilities they will need to perform the job effectively. It’s also important to ensure the job description doesn’t unintentionally exclude potential candidates who may have gained the necessary skills in non-traditional ways.
Here are a few tips to help you write a skills-based job description:
- Start with a clear, concise job title: The job title should be straightforward and reflect the nature of the job.
- Identify necessary skills: Identify both the hard and soft skills that are essential for the job. These should be skills that directly relate to the job duties.
- Describe tasks in terms of skills: Rather than just listing tasks, describe them in terms of the skills they require.
- Avoid unnecessary requirements: Don’t include requirements that aren’t essential to perform the job. This can unintentionally exclude qualified candidates.
- Include a statement about transferable skills: Encourage candidates with relevant transferable skills to apply, even if they’ve been acquired in a different industry or role.
- Be clear about any training or development opportunities: If the company is willing to provide training for certain skills, make sure to mention this.
- Use inclusive language: Avoid using jargon, acronyms, or gender-biased terms.
- Proofread: Make sure the job description is free of errors and easy to read.
The Specific Skills To Put In A Job Description Skills Section
If you are a Hiring Manager putting together a job posting, it is incredibly helpful to review hard and top soft skills examples. Reviewing these examples of soft skills will help you pick the right skills for your open position and you can read what to include in a job specification to complete your job description template, ready for posting your job ads on the most popular job boards.
Leadership skills refer to one’s ability to inspire and guide individuals or teams to achieve common goals. Leadership skills involve setting a clear vision, providing direction, managing people, and making decisions. Good leaders are also adept at fostering an environment of trust, collaboration, and open communication.
Leadership skills are relevant in a variety of roles such as Managers, Executives, Team Leaders, or any position that requires overseeing a group of people or coordinating efforts. Additionally, even in non-leadership roles, employees can exhibit leadership through initiative and positively influencing others.
TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Time management skills involve the ability to use one’s time effectively and productively. It requires planning, prioritising, setting goals, and organising tasks to ensure efficiency and meet deadlines.
These skills are essential in almost every job role, from entry-level to executive positions. They are particularly relevant for roles such as Project Managers, Administrators, Consultants, Freelancers, and any job where multiple tasks or projects must be managed concurrently.
Interpersonal skills, often known as people skills, involve the ability to communicate and interact well with others. They include empathy, active listening, conflict resolution, and the ability to understand and respond to the needs of others.
Interpersonal skills are crucial in roles that involve interaction with others, including Customer Service Representatives, Salespeople, Managers, Teachers, Healthcare Professionals, and more. They’re also beneficial in team settings to foster positive relationships and collaboration.
Technical skills refer to the specific knowledge and abilities required for certain jobs or tasks. These skills are usually related to IT, engineering, mathematics, or science and often require specific education or training.
Technical skills are critical for roles in industries with work related skills such as IT, engineering, data analysis, science, and finance. Roles might include Software Developers, Engineers, Data Analysts, IT Support Specialists, and more.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Project management skills involve planning, executing, and overseeing projects to ensure they are completed in a timely manner and within budget. They require goal setting, resource allocation, risk management, time management, leadership skills, and quality control.
Jobs that require project management skills include Project Managers, Business Analysts, and Operations Managers. However, any role that involves overseeing a project from initiation to completion can benefit from these skills, including roles in marketing, IT, construction, and more.
CUSTOMER SERVICE SKILLS
Customer service skills involve the ability to handle customer needs effectively and efficiently. This soft skill includes communication, patience, emotional intelligence, problem-solving, and the ability to remain calm under pressure.
These soft skills are crucial for roles such as Customer Service Representatives, Retail Associates, Receptionists, and any role that involves direct interaction with customers. Good customer service skills can lead to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Communication skills refer to the ability to convey information effectively and clearly. They encompass both verbal and written communication, as well as the ability to listen and understand others.
Communication skills are fundamental in almost every job role, but especially important for Public Relations Specialists, Journalists, Marketers, Salespeople, and Managers. They’re also critical in collaborative work environments where team coordination is essential.
Analytical skills involve the ability to collect and analyse information, problem-solve, and make decisions. These skills are used to review complex situations or problems and find feasible solutions.
Analytical skills are particularly important for roles like Data Analysts, Financial Analysts, Market Researchers, and Scientists. However, any role that involves decision-making or problem-solving can benefit from strong analytical skills.
Problem-solving skills refer to the ability to handle difficult or unexpected situations and the capacity to work through obstacles. It involves being able to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problems.
These skills are vital across a range of roles and industries in the professional world, from Customer Service Representatives (resolving customer complaints), to Software Developers (debugging code), to Managers (resolving staff disputes or operational issues).
Critical thinking refers to the ability to objectively analyse and evaluate information to form a judgement. It involves elements of logical reasoning, problem-solving, and decision-making.
Critical thinking is vital in roles such as Analysts, Managers, Teachers, Doctors, and Lawyers, where decisions must often be made under pressure and rely on a balanced consideration of all available information.
Research skills involve the ability to locate, understand, and use information effectively. They require curiosity, attention to detail, critical thinking, and patience.
These skills are particularly relevant for an Academic or Industrial Researcher job description, Journalist job description, Business Development Analyst job description, or Business Lawyer job description. However, any job that needs the creation of new content or the informed solution of problems can benefit from research skills.
Design skills encompass a wide range of abilities, from graphic design using software to Adobe Creative Suite, product design, and conceptual understanding of aesthetics and user experience.
Design skills are primarily important for jobs such as Graphic Designers, Product Designers, Web Designers, and Architects. However, they are becoming increasingly useful in marketing, advertising, and even roles like Data Analysts, who often have to present data in visually accessible ways.
Business acumen refers to the understanding of how a business functions, including the relationship between the company’s financial results and its key performance indicators (KPIs). It involves strategic thinking, decision-making, and understanding the market and industry in which the company operates.
Business acumen is particularly relevant for Business Managers, Business Analysts, CEOs, Salespeople, and Entrepreneurs. However, in today’s competitive job market, individuals in all roles can benefit from understanding how their work contributes to the overall business success.
Social skills, often seen as a subset of interpersonal skills, are the abilities necessary to interact and communicate with others effectively. They include empathy, politeness, active listening, and clear communication.
These skills are relevant in any role that involves interaction with others, especially roles in sales, customer service, and management. They’re also important in collaborative environments where team-based projects are common.
Software skills refer to the ability to use computer programs or applications to accomplish a specific task. These can range from general office software like Microsoft Office to specialised software like Photoshop for graphic design or Python for programming.
The relevance of software skills varies greatly depending on the job. For example, they’re essential for Software Engineers, Data Analysts, Graphic Designers, and Office Administrators. However, in today’s digital age, most jobs require at least a basic level of software skills.
Soft And Hard Skills For All Job Descriptions
You can find the important skills to put in any job description in our job descriptions library or via any of the job categories below:
- Accounting Skills
- Agriculture Skills
- Analyst Skills
- Armed Forces Skills
- Arts Skills
- Automotive Skills
- Banking and Insurance Skills
- Bar and Restaurant Skills
- Charity Skills
- Construction Skills
- Customer Services Skills
- Education Skills
- Engineering Skills
- Facilities Management Skills
- Finance Skills
- Healthcare Skills
- Hospitality and Leisure Skills
- Human Resources (HR) Skills
- Information Technology (IT) Skills
- Leadership Skills
- Legal Skills
- Management Skills
- Manufacturing Skills
- Marketing Skills
- Media Skills
- Nurse Skills
- Office Administration Skills
- Personal Care Skills
- Professional Services Skills
- Project Manager Skills
- Public Sector Skills
- Religious Worker Skills
- Retail Skills
- Sales Skills
- Science Skills
- Social Care Skills
- Teacher Skills
- Telecommunications Skills
- Transportation and Logistics Skills
Job Description Skills FAQs
Next, we answer the frequently asked questions of Hiring Managers, job recruiters, employers, and job seekers.
Key skills for a job description are the abilities that a potential candidate needs to perform the job effectively. These may vary by role and industry but typically include both hard skills (specific, teachable abilities) and soft skills (interpersonal attributes). For example, a job description for a Software Engineer might only list skills, like coding, problem-solving, and team collaboration.
Six job skills could include:
1. Communication: The ability to effectively share and receive information.
2. Teamwork: Working well with others towards a common goal.
3. Problem-solving: Finding creative solutions to challenges in the workplace.
4. Adaptability: Being flexible and responsive to changes.
5. Leadership: Guiding and inspiring others to achieve objectives.
6. Time management: Efficiently using time to prioritise and complete tasks.
The top 3 strengths employers look for may vary by industry, but generally, they include:
1. Work ethic: Employers value employees who are dedicated, reliable, and take initiative.
2. Communication: Being able to effectively express ideas and understand others is crucial in most workplaces.
3. Problem-solving: Employers appreciate employees who can identify issues and develop effective solutions.
Soft skill are interpersonal or people skills that relate to the way you interact with others. Unlike hard skills, which are specific, teachable abilities, soft skills are less tangible and harder to quantify. Examples include communication, leadership, problem-solving, teamwork, attention to detail, and adaptability.
Hard skills are specific, teachable abilities that can be defined and measured. They are usually gained through training or education and are specific to certain professions or tasks. Examples include coding for a Software Developer, data analysis for a Data Scientist, or fluency in a foreign language for a Translator.