Deanna Hartley| Career Builder

A peanut butter sandwich doesn’t sound terribly appetizing, and neither does a plain jelly sandwich. That’s because both peanut butter and jelly are equally important to make a great sandwich. Similarly, as it turns out, soft skills and hard skills are both important ingredients to make a great candidate — you just can’t (or shouldn’t) have one without the other.

According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, the vast majority of employers (77 percent) believe that soft skills — less tangible skills associated with one’s personality, such as a positive attitude — are just as important as hard skills — skills that are learned to perform a specific job function and can be measured, such as operating a computer program.

Nearly 1 in 5 (16 percent) stated that soft skills are more important than hard skills when evaluating candidates for a job.

According to the survey of more than 2,000 hiring managers nationwide, these were the 10 most popular soft skills companies say they look for when hiring:

  1. Strong work ethic
  2. Dependability
  3. Positive attitude
  4. Self-motivation
  5. Team-oriented attitude
  6. Organization; ability to manage multiple priorities
  7. Ability to work well under pressure
  8. Effective communication skills
  9. Flexibility
  10. Confidence

What does that mean for you?

If you don’t already, you need to start taking a more holistic view when evaluating candidates, and not just rely on making a decision based on what they look like on paper. Keep in mind that you can train employees to bring their hard skills up to par. As some put it: Hire for attitude and train for skill.

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