Beyond the CV – Top 6 Soft Skills to look out for in Candidates

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Experience and qualifications are essential for many jobs, but soft skills are becoming increasingly important in today’s rapidly changing job market. They not only affect how well individuals carry out their duties but also how effectively they communicate, innovate, and lead a team.

Here’s a deeper look at the six essential soft skills we think you should prioritise when evaluating candidates, beyond their technical expertise and traditional CV highlights:


Why it matters:
  • Effective communication highlights workplace interactions and operations. It ensures clear understanding, reduces errors, and enhances collaboration.
Key aspects to evaluate:
  • Clarity and Articulation – How well candidates convey their ideas verbally and in writing.
  • Active Listening – Their ability to attentively listen and respond appropriately.
  • Audience Adaptability – Their skill in tailoring messages to suit different levels of people.
Assessment/Interview tips:
  • Observe presentation skills during interviews and pose questions that require them to explain complex ideas concisely.


Why it matters:
  • Collaborative efforts drive company success. Team players foster a supportive environment and enhance collective productivity.
Key aspects to evaluate:
  • Empathy and Open-mindedness – Their ability to understand and value diverse perspectives.
  • Humility and Cooperation – Willingness to prioritise team goals over personal achievements.
  • Conflict Resolution – How they handle disagreements and work towards consensus.
Assessment/Interview tips:
  • Conduct group interviews or discussions about their involvement in team projects, emphasising their contributions.


Why it matters:
  • The ability to adjust to changes is crucial in a dynamic work environment. Adaptable employees are often more resilient and innovative.
Key aspects to evaluate:
  • Proactivity and Flexibility – Their approach to change with unexpected challenges.
  • Growth Mindset – Openness to learning and self-improvement.
  • Stress Management – How well they perform under pressure and adapt to new situations.
Assessment/Interview tips:
  • Present hypothetical scenarios that require quick adaptation or change management and observe their responses.


Why it matters:
  • Problem-solving skills drive innovation and efficiency. They enable employees to overcome obstacles and improve processes.
Key aspects to evaluate:
  • Critical Thinking and Creativity – Their ability to analyse situations and generate solutions.
  • Persistence and Resourcefulness – Determination to find and implement effective solutions.
  • Practical Application – Their experience with handling challenges successfully.
Assessment/Interview tips:
  • Ask candidates to describe past difficulties they’ve navigated or engage them in problem-solving exercises during the interview.


Why it matters:
  • Leadership skills are valuable at all levels, fostering initiative, motivation, and direction within teams.
Key aspects to evaluate:
  • Influence and Motivation – Ability to inspire and guide others.
  • Decisiveness and Vision – Making informed decisions and setting a clear direction.
  • Trustworthiness and Integrity – Building trust and demonstrating ethical behaviour.
Assessment/Interview tips:
  • Assess past leadership experiences, whether formal or informal and evaluate their potential to inspire peers.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Why it matters:
  • High emotional intelligence enhances interpersonal relationships, conflict resolution, and overall workplace harmony.
Key aspects to evaluate:
  • Self-awareness and Self-regulation – Understanding and managing their own emotions.
  • Empathy and Social Skills – Recognising and appropriately responding to others’ emotions.
  • Stress and Conflict Management – Handling pressure and resolving disputes effectively.
Assessment/Interview tips:
  • Observe their stress handling during interviews, capacity for self-reflection, and responses to emotionally charged questions.

In conclusion, companies that identify candidates who not only meet the technical demands of a job but also contribute positively to the company culture and long-term success by prioritising these soft skills will experience reduced employee turnover and enhanced overall performance.

At Devonshire, we understand the importance of soft skills and incorporate these insights into our assessment processes. If you’re looking to recruit for a role within your team and would like our assistance, reach out to us today for a conversation!

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