The Ultimate Guide to Understand the Difference Between Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills

When recruiting new hires, every organization first examines if the candidates possess the necessary practical expertise to do the job. After all, you wouldn't employ someone with a chemical engineering background to undertake electronics-related tasks, right? While hard skills are vital, wise employers recognize that excellent employees have another set of skills that are more difficult to develop: soft skills. So, today in this Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills tutorial, you are going to understand the meaning behind both the terms soft skills and hard skills, along with the differences between the two.

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What Are Hard Skills?

Hard skills are the technical aspects that you have honed through college education, online courses, or job training. Every job role necessitates some industry-specific skills required to do the job. For example, if you want to become a business manager, you must have a good command of managerial skills, international legislation, and business growth strategies. Similarly, if your interests align with the field of software or web development, then you must have command over skills such as back-end and front-end development, DBMS, data structures, and any programming language framework. 

Hard skills are quantifiable, and companies examine them with the help of technical assessments at the beginning of recruitment processes. These skills are viewed as bread and butter for the job roles. Hence, candidates must possess these skills in order to get hired. 

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills refer to various personality traits such as attitude, communication, critical thinking, time management, creative abilities, etc. Soft skills help in capitalizing on your potential and help you stand out. All those educational certifications don’t matter if you are poor in these soft skills. Without appropriate soft skills, you cannot put your hard skills to use in collaborative working environments. Soft skills are crucial for you to navigate in the working environment, to form peer-to-peer camaraderie. Maybe that is why companies spend loads of money training employees for work ethics and personality development.

According to LinkedIn's Global Talent Trends research, 92% of talent acquisition professionals believe soft skills are just as essential as hard skills when it comes to recruiting new candidates. This research also highlights that 89% of talent acquisition managers believe that when a new hire doesn’t work out, it’s because they lack critical soft skills. 

Moving forward, in this soft skills vs. hard skills tutorial, you will discover some significant differences between soft skills and hard skills.

Differences Between Soft Skills and Hard Skills

There are three parameters that significantly differentiate soft skills from hard skills. You will look into them one by one.


1. Developmental Distinction

The first key difference between soft skills vs hard skills is the way these skills are developed. As mentioned earlier, hard skills are considered as technical skills developed via training, such as understanding the functioning of a particular tool or machine through tutorial videos, lectures, etc. On the other hand, soft skills are inherent or can be developed by personal and professional experiences.

2. Difference in Measurement

Hard skills are quantifiable and can be pinned down using either a yes/no or a numerical value. For example, Tom has three years of hands-on experience in JavaScript. While on the other hand, soft skills are likely to be intangible or hard to measure. For example, you cannot measure someone's communication or creative abilities. 

3. Evaluation Methodology

The hard skills are majorly evaluated via technical assessment and job assignments at the beginning phase of the recruitment process. Resumes can also be used beforehand to determine if candidates possess the necessary technical abilities. In comparison, soft skills are tested via HR interview rounds with the help of behavioral and crisis interview questions.

Moving further in this soft skills vs hard skills tutorial, you will learn how to emphasize both hard and soft skills.

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Ways to Highlight Hard Skills

Your resume is the most appropriate place to exhibit your technical expertise. Hence, it is suggested that you go through the job descriptions before formatting your resume. Compare your skillset to the skills needed for the job. And add the skills that are there in both lists.


For example, if you are aspiring to become a software developer, then highlighting your command over programming languages like Java, Python, or C++ along with proper certifications will give you instant credibility. 

You can also add details of your internship certifications and Projects to your resume. Recruiters prefer students who have internship experience as they seem more thorough with practical knowledge. Also, when asked about those projects in interviews, make sure to accentuate projects that you undertook. This will offer employers an idea of how well-versed you are in technical jargon. 

Ways to Highlight Soft Skills

Soft skills are personality traits that are evaluated in the interview rounds. The first move you can make to showcase them is to greet interviewers firmly and confidently. If it's a virtual interview, then there are limitations to communicating with your body language. In this case, keep the camera at eye level to maintain virtual eye contact as you converse. Doing this will help you build confidence and a good first impression.


Also, emphasize the soft skills required for the job description, like if the job requires you to work a night shift, put flexibility as a skill in the resume, or if the interview is for client support, then focus more on your communication skills. The best way to prepare for soft skills questions is to appear for mock interviews. You can do so with the help of tools such as Mock-AI by AMCAT.


Doing this will help you boost your confidence and help you prepare your strategy to ace interview rounds.


In this soft skills vs hard skills tutorial, you learned what both terms soft skills and hard skills mean. After that, you discovered a few significant differences between both of them. You also looked into the ways to highlight these skills in your job application and recruitment process. If your focus has been on upskilling and learning new technologies to stay relevant and employable, then Simplilearn is the right place for you.

If you have any questions or need clarification on any section of this soft skills vs hard skills tutorial, please leave them in the comments section at the bottom of this page; we will respond to them soon.

About the Author

Kartik MenonKartik Menon

Kartik is an experienced content strategist and an accomplished technology marketing specialist passionate about designing engaging user experiences with integrated marketing and communication solutions.

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