6 Soft Skills Recruiters Look For in a Candidate


Sarah Peddie

As a medical recruitment company, it is important for us to find the right candidates who have the correct qualifications who can take the jobs advertised on our website. However, being employable is not just about having the qualifications, recruitment companies are now looking at soft skills of candidates more than ever.

Before we get into the article, it is important to explain what soft skills are and why they are important when it comes to being employable.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills, which can often be called people skills or emotional intelligence, are defined as the ability to interact accordingly with others. They are personal attributes that can affect relationships, communication and interaction with other people. Negotiating, networking, presenting, teamwork and problem solving are just some of the soft skills that recruitment companies are on the look for. 

Why are soft skills important to have?

Soft skills are essential in getting recruitment companies and employers to sign you up. Using soft skills can lead to stronger relationships with colleagues and other professional contacts within your area of expertise. They can also help you gain confidence which is a key attribute to have when applying for a job. 

How do I improve my soft skills?

Soft skills are generally not an ‘all or nothing’ area, you will be better at certain skills than you are at others. A good first step in improving your soft skills is identifying the areas in which you need to improve. You can do this through personal reflection or through feedback through friends or colleagues. Keeping a journal and taking notes of your professional interactions can be helpful with self-evaluation of soft skills. 

Once you have pinpointed your strengths and weaknesses, get ready to create a plan of action to improve your soft skills. You can do this through a mentor who will be able to help you improve your skills and provide feedback or even just thinking positively about the situation and see it as an opportunity to get better.

The 6 Soft Skills Recruiters Look For in a Candidate

Good Communication

This is one of the key soft skills a candidate can have and industries always require candidates that have strong communication skills. 

Being able to correspond through different means of communication like writing, face-to-face, email and phone calls is important for the success of a project and makes the workplace a smooth-flowing environment.

Communication works two ways and candidates should be capable of listening as well.


Working as part of a team is one of the main things an employer will look for in a candidate. Someone who cannot cooperate or work well with colleagues may be rejected for a job, no matter how good their qualifications may be. The simple reason behind this is - no one wants to work with a difficult colleague. Team players can reduce any friction or tension that may occur when in a team environment. 

Candidates that work well within a team environment are also able to manage and delegate tasks whilst building up positive working relationships with their fellow members of staff. 

Emotional Intelligence

This is the ability to adapt your behaviour of your interaction in terms of context and situation. This may seem like a small scale skill but when it comes to the workplace, this skill actually plays a vital role. 

The ability to connect with others is what can give a candidate an edge over another. 


Candidates who display strong leadership skills show a recruiter and employer that they can take charge of the situation and also show initiative. It also shows that they can motivate their colleagues and teammates. A strong leader can set a good example with their work ethic and drive for improvement. 

Critical Thinking 

Good problem solving is what makes a candidate stand out, many companies value candidates who can identify a problem and know how to solve it. 

Critical thinking from a candidate should involve good judgment calls and the ability to carry out decisions in any given situation by using the resources around them to the best of their ability.

Negotiation and Persuasion 

Recruiters are always on the lookout for candidates that have great negotiation and persuasive skills as things won’t always go to plan in the workplace. 

To have persuasive skills, a candidate must show that they are capable of coming up with ideas and being able to present them in a confident manner. Negotiation comes into play when another party presents their ideas and argues for them. 

Negotiation shows the recruiter that a candidate understands the other party’s objective but can come up with a compromise to suit them both. 

Thinking about working overseas in a job you will love? Register with Odyssey Recruitment today and we could take you one step closer to that goal.