Why Hiring Graduates with Strong Soft Skills Pays Off

A huge number of employers are starting to recognise that a university degree alone no longer guarantees long-term professional success when hiring graduates.

Nowadays, candidates who possess soft skills are often tipped to be more employable due to the benefits they can bring to both small and large corporations.

While a degree can provide candidates with relevant theoretical knowledge about their chosen industry, soft skills enable them to tackle everyday problems that occur within the workplace which shapes them into more coveted candidates.

In this article, we’ll explore the importance of hiring graduates with transferable soft skills and the benefits they can bring to your business.

The soft skills to look out for when hiring graduates:

Effective communication

In today’s interconnected world of business, strong communication has become an essential ingredient for a company’s success.

It’s not just about hiring graduates who speak clearly or write well; but also those who prove they can actively listen, collaborate effectively with employees, and throw relevant ideas on the table during team meetings.

That’s why graduates who possess exceptional verbal and written communication skills thrive within their teams, as well as communicating with customers and clients. Having these types of individuals on board enables you to create a culture of open communication, innovation, and shared accomplishments. 

Adapting to change

Graduates who have the skill of embracing change become an asset to any company.


Because, they possess an array of attractive characteristics such as resilience, flexibility, and a genuine hunger to learn and grow.

Their ability to adapt quickly empowers businesses to quickly respond to market shifts and seize emerging opportunities. Additionally, these grads are also more likely to bounce back from setbacks and find innovative solutions to key problems. Their willingness to step out of their comfort zone and acquire new knowledge drives personal growth and can over time, fuel your business’ progress.

Problem-solving for innovation

Following on from the point above, effective problem-solving is a fundamental skill that can bring immense benefits to organisations across all industries.

Consider the positive impact of having a team of graduates with a great talent for analysing complex situations and uncovering creative solutions that others may have never considered. They thrive on challenges, approach obstacles with an open mind, and explore unconventional paths to achieve desired outcomes.

By encouraging a culture that embraces creative problem-solving, businesses can foster an environment of continuous improvement and innovation. Having a new graduate’s ability to think critically, evaluate various perspectives, and generate unique ideas ensures that the organisation stays agile and ahead of the competition.

How to assess candidates for soft skills:

Ask behaviour-based interview questions

Traditional interview questions often result in rehearsed responses that you’re likely to have heard time and time again. Therefore, the answers they provide will never accurately reflect the candidate’s true capabilities.

Behaviour-based interview questions, on the other hand, thoroughly delve into the candidate’s prior professional experiences and allow them to provide tangible evidence of their soft skills in action.

By focusing on real-life scenarios, these questions enable you to assess a candidate’s ability to navigate challenges, work with others, and demonstrate the desired soft skills essential for success in the role.

Here are some examples of behaviour-based interview questions:

  • Describe a situation where you had to adapt to a significant change in your work environment or project. How did you handle the change, and what steps did you take to ensure a smooth transition?
  • Give me an example of a project or task where you had to collaborate with individuals from diverse backgrounds or departments. How did you ensure effective communication and cooperation among team members to achieve the desired outcomes?
  • Describe a situation where you had to think creatively to solve a complex problem. Walk me through your thought process, the steps you took, and the innovative solution you came up with.

Ask for references

References are often required by employers to find out more about a candidate’s past work history and experience. In some instances, this written document may also give you some indication as to how they conduct themselves in the workplace and whether they’re the right fit for your company.

When carrying out a reference check, it may be useful to get in touch with their former employer to gain perspective on aspects such as collaboration, teamwork, and interpersonal relationships.

Here are some useful questions to ask during this process:

  • How would you describe the candidate’s working relationships with their coworkers and management team?
  • Can you share your experience of working with the job candidate? What were their strengths in terms of communication, teamwork, and problem-solving?

When seeking feedback from past employers, keep in mind that they’re unlikely to provide a positive response for someone who they wouldn’t personally recommend. By asking these questions, you can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the candidate’s interpersonal dynamics and suitability for the role.

Looking to hire a graduate for your company? Register with Inspiring Interns today and check out our candidates’ latest video CVs to hire your perfect employee.