Soft Skills as a Recruitment Criterion in the Digital Workplace

With the digital transformation and ever more dynamic markets, soft skills are becoming increasingly important in the digital working world. Direct personal contact is now rare and factors such as empathy and empathy are gaining in importance. HR managers have also recognised this and attach ever greater importance to social competence when looking for employees.

According to a study by ESCP Europe in which 300 personnel were interviewed, soft skills play a very important role in the selection of new employees for 48 percent of personnel. In recent years, the importance of social skills has increased considerably. (Source: Haufe)

What are soft skills and how can they be determined?

The word soft skills conceals so-called positive key competences. These include, for example, team skills, motivation and communication skills. They are referred to as soft or social skills because they cannot be documented with certificates or degrees. This makes it very difficult to determine them , especially by classical application methods. But only the personality, character and behaviour show what the social competence of a candidate really is.

In order to find out, the applicants had to be invited to assessment centres and lengthy interviews and tests in their own company. This is not only time-consuming, but also costly. Often the social authority can be estimated nevertheless only correctly, if the new coworker already works in the enterprise, whereby it frequently comes to wrong appointments.

With the help of modern, digital recruiting measures, such as video applications, personnel managers can assess the soft skills of a candidate very well even before recruitment. Applicants go through a structured interview in which all candidates are asked the same questions and the same conditions for answering them are ensured. Based on the answers, team skills, communication skills, creativity and benefit orientation can be determined and compared at the same time.

Soft skills increasingly important

Increasing numbers of companies are working with digital project teams today. These are no longer reserved for the IT industry alone. Due to the ever more dynamically developing markets, ever more frequent innovations and increasing internationalisation, even of SMEs, more and more HR managers are relying on employees with award-winning soft skills. This is an important indicator for smooth virtual communication and collaboration in order to avoid misunderstandings and disagreements within the team and to keep the project flowing.

because employees are increasingly working across cities, countries and even continents together. Communication takes place primarily via e-mail, telephone, video and collaboration tools; team members hardly see each other personally.

Each employee has a different personality and peculiarities that “the team” has to cope with on a daily basis. If the colleagues then do not even know each other personally, this poses a major hurdle. Because it is even more difficult to assess the other person via digital channels. Especially in conflict situations and stressful project phases, this can become a problem. In order to work together successfully under these circumstances, soft skills are a “must-have” in the modern working world.


Our modern professional world develops enormously fast. The half-life of specialist knowledge is decreasing and one innovation follows another. Therefore, soft skills are an essential constant that is important in digital time. Employees must not only be able to work in a team, they must also be increasingly flexible, have a talent for working with others and at the same time be able to deal with conflicts. Strength, innovative ability, assertiveness, organizational talent, self-motivation and a view of the “big picture” – all these skills are important so that employees can adapt to this change and survive in the digital working world.

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