Top 5 Soft Skills Employers Look For

Soft skills get little respect but will make or break your careerWhile employers and hiring managers typically use a job seeker’s technical skills to narrow down the candidate pool, it’s the job seeker’s soft skills that will most likely land them the job. The interview process is the time when a candidate’s soft skills can shine through. But, which soft skills are valued by HR pros the most*?

Here are the top 5 soft skills that employers want to hire:

5. Problem Solving
The ability to turn challenges in opportunities and find creative solutions to reach one’s goals is number five on our list. To the hiring manager, a good problem solver is someone that can think creatively and take initiative when needed.

You might be asked questions similar to the following to allow the employer to understand your problem solving skills:

  • Tell me about a situation when you had to solve a difficult problem and what did you do?
  • What is the process you follow when solving problems?

4. Personality
How well the person fits into the corporate culture is pretty important and number four. There are countless stories we hear of people leaving jobs because the opportunity wasn’t the right fit and it is a totally legit reason.

An interviewer will typically make small talk to understand your personality. Everything from how you dress to what you share in your elevator pitch to your body language can tell the interviewer about your personality.

3. Team Work
Working well as part of a team is the key to succeeding in most types of work environments. Being able to compromise, be flexible, and humble are just a few qualities that make a good team player.

Here are some questions that the interviewer may ask in order to understand how well you work on a team:

  • Tell me about a time you had to work as part of a team that didn’t go so well. What happened?
  • Tell me about a time you had to work as a team with someone you didn’t get along with. How did you handle that?
  • If you received an award for your work and had to give a speech, who would you thank?

2. Communication Style
Being able to appropriately share information in a timely manner is really important in the workplace and was ranked as the second most important soft skill by HR professionals. Lacking this soft skill could keep you out of the running for a job.

An interviewer might ask you questions similar to the following to understand how you communicate:

  • Tell me about a time where your communication skills made a difference to a situation?
  • How do you vary your approach when communicating with different audiences?
  • Do you consider yourself to be a good writer? What types of writing have you done?

1. Strong Work Ethic
A strong work ethic is the number one soft skill employers want from a candidate. 56% of HR pros value soft skills over hard skills, so work ethic is very important—even if a candidate doesn’t meet all of the requirements for a position, a good work ethic could land them the job.

To understand your work ethic an interviewer may ask questions similar to these:

  • Share an example of a goal you reached at work and how you accomplished it?
  • Have you ever exceeded your work expectations? And if so, how/why?
  • What would your past coworkers and supervisors say about your work ethic?

*We surveyed more than 4,000 HR Professionals and Job Seekers across the Beyond network to find out which soft skills they value most.


  1. Are my proof-reading and attention-to-detail skills something I can sell?
    >>> 2. Communcation Style
    is misspelled, should be “Communication”.

  2. I like that you gave examples of questions pertaining to each of the soft skills.
    It will give me guidance when I practice at home to perfect my answers to this type of question.

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