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Top 10 Soft Skills Employers Look For In Candidates In 2021

by Lexie Holmes
Soft skills

Soft skills

As digital transformation accelerates and artificial intelligence develops, recruiters are increasingly convinced that behavioral skills, also known as soft skills, make all the difference during a job interview. Because of this, these professional skills, which number 50,000 according to data studied by LinkedIn, are now highly valued by companies and are demanding more and more attention from job seekers… We will focus here on the 10 Soft Skills most sought after by employers in 2021.

The degree is less and less important in the recruitment process.

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According to 59% of employers, “the degree is not an essential criterion”, especially in the construction, industry and car repair sectors where technical skills predominate over those linked to the degree. But also in sectors in contact with the public such as the hotel and restaurant industry, trade or transport.

More than 60% of employers in small establishments with fewer than 5 employees consider a degree to be “secondary”. This percentage drops to 40% in establishments with 100 or more employees.

Nevertheless, for other, slightly more technical fields of activity and those that directly affect people’s well-being, a degree remains a safe bet. This is true in the scientific and technical sectors as well as in finance-related activities, where the importance of a diploma remains.

A specific training with a diploma is a determining factor for 16% of employers, particularly in certain sectors such as education, social work and health, where a specific diploma is required.

Finally, for 25% of employers, “the diploma is important, but several profiles are possible”.

Below, the 10 soft skills most valued by companies.

Management skills

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A manager’s strength lies in his or her ability to manage his or her colleagues on a collective path. To do this, he or she must have certain social and communicative skills, which are not found in the skills derived from a diploma. Knowing the profile behind each member of your team is essential in order to lead them in the best possible way, to integrate them into the group dynamic.

This kind of profile is not rare, it is the ability to ago beyond the management of the skills available within a team that is more difficult to find.

Problem-solving in complex situations

The ability to go further in solving complex problems is an important soft skill, and is highly appreciated in companies. It requires the ability to break down the problem easily, in several sub-parts, in order to understand its complexity, before attempting to find the inherent solutions. It requires a good capacity of analysis, but also a logical and precise reasoning, to deduce the solutions to adopt and their outcomes.

Two different ways of reasoning clash at this level, namely the traditional and sequential approach and the agile approach.

Decision-making and judgment

No matter what position they hold, workers face decision-making along the way. They have to choose, after analyzing and judging the different options, which decision will lead to an improvement. Indeed, if the ability to analyze, judge and determine the right methods to use is important, enterprises prefer by far, profiles that are able to make decisions, when necessary.

Critical thinking skills

When needed, critical thinking skills are required to carry a line of reasoning to its conclusion in order to find the solution to a given problem. Regardless of whether the reasoning is induced by their knowledge and experience, or deduced by their observation and logic, profiles that know how to use critical thinking are highly valued, because they are decisive in the most crucial moments for the company.


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Negotiation with partners is another crucial point where good judgment is required. People who are good listeners, who can synthesize the pros and cons in order to better present their position and have it accepted, are the best negotiators. These profiles know how to lead a discussion, bounce off what others say and interact with the arguments in front of them.

They are not interested in dismantling an opponent with their arguments, but rather in finding the point of agreement that suits everyone, while favouring their position.

Team spirit

Companies are more and more interested in individual performance. They are looking for profiles that are able to integrate into group objectives in order to achieve them. This requires a candidate who knows how to interact with his or her colleagues, who reinforces understanding and cohesion, and who knows how to put his or her enthusiasm at the service of the group’s dynamics.


Companies highly value candidates who know how to be flexible, to adapt to the different situations, personalities and problems they may encounter. As companies are becoming more and more a crossroads of differences to be combined with the group, these profiles are highly sought after to allow for group cohesion.

Creative thinking

Creative thinking is highly sought after for the optimism, innovation and freshness it brings to companies. Creative profiles make the difference in companies, because they usually have that little touch that changes the way of seeing things and allows approaching problems differently.

This skill not only allows a company to survive, but also to innovate and remain competitive on the market.

Emotional intelligence

In today’s society, emotional intelligence is becoming increasingly important. Prized over the intelligence quotient that until a few years ago allowed us to gauge the strength of a profile, this quality facilitates integration into a company, and allows its holder to often provide a much better performance than the average.

The profiles are based on motivation, empathy and social skills, which also allows them to help others when they are in difficulty.

The sense of service

Flexibility seen in another way, lets some candidates go beyond their work functions to help solve a situation that is far from the skills for which they are hired. These profiles are able to put their skills at the service of others, to manage an emergency or to coach a colleague lacking motivation. This makes them profiles that can be counted on.

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