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Recruiting Soft Skills and Training the Rest: Why Dropping Your Job Requirements Can Help You Out Hire the Competition

Seeing past the resume and having the ability to recruit for soft skills is the difference between a thoughtful, savvy talent strategist and an order-taking resume reader

30-second read (+2:29 video)

I originally posted this a year ago. It’s even more relevant today.

Hiring is harder. It’s more competitive. And the supply and demand dynamics have become more imbalanced.

Still, many companies are their own worst enemies. Unrealistic visions of what a qualified candidate looks like make hiring today nearly impossible for some recruiting teams.

For most roles, we’re well past school, pedigree, and industry-specific experience being relevant signals that a person can effectively do the job.

That said, here we go…


“My background doesn’t apply to your business. Cut me some slack. I’m aware of this and I want to succeed.”

When you truly understand the value that soft skills bring to your culture, and know that many hard skills can be learned, this shouts qualified—and taps into a candidate pool that is being overlooked and ignored.

Self-awareness and vulnerability are traits that cannot be trained. They’re developed through a combination of life experiences and personal growth.

They’re more telling than the school you went to, the fancy tech company you worked at, or the city you live in.

“I am different than my background” tells a bigger story.

It's something that companies should be seeking in candidates––an opportunity to enable reinvention.

Smart founders, talent leaders, and hiring managers embrace this.

They see beyond the profile and build companies and teams on the backs of smart people, regardless of their past.

I understand that this doesn’t apply to every role at every type of company. And I’m not saying this is free entry. Boxes need to be checked.

But generally speaking, seeing past the resume and having the ability to recruit for soft skills is the difference between a thoughtful, savvy talent strategist and an order-taking resume reader.

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