Entry-level job seekers are frequently struggling with in-person interviews. The cognitive skills they learned throughout their education may get them in front of a hiring manager, but employers are also demanding soft skills. Both parties end up wasting time and resources due to these mismatches, but there are ways to close this loop.


Why Is There a Mismatch of Skill Sets?

Social skills and emotional intelligence are remarkably valuable in a world where organizations adopt collaborative work environments. Employees are more likely to work on a team than by themselves, and in some cases, they are part of several cross-department teams. They need a solid foundation of soft skills in order to thrive within office and team dynamics and to bring value to the employer.

Social Skills Versus Cognitive Skills

Employers may desire social skills in the talent they're recruiting, but schools tend to focus on cognitive skills instead of people skills. These skills may be viewed as something that students eventually pick up on their own, or teachers may not see the value of including them in their lesson plans. Instead, resources and time are dedicated to math, language, science, history and other traditional subjects.

Furthermore, while potential employees pick up some soft skills informally, classrooms tend to have lecture-style formats rather than those that put an emphasis on group projects. The candidates who naturally develop people skills, as well as those who happened to pick them up along the way, bring employers want they're looking for.

Employers Need to Take Responsibility for Training

Fewer than 50 percent of hiring managers are finding employees with the right skill sets for the positions they need to fill. A company may pour money into the recruitment process to try to find the perfect candidate for the job. However, it loses money while the position remains open, allocating resources to a competitive recruitment effort. There's no guarantee that the employer is even going to find the right person, but the hiring manager and recruitment team do have another option--train people on the skills they're looking for.

Don't pass over a candidate who lacks the social skills you're looking for. You can develop the soft skills necessary for successful execution of the position rather than going months without an employee. Penn Foster developed the Career Readiness Bootcamp so employers can offer key soft skills training for employees. The bootcamp is designed to help employees and job seekers develop the essential employability skills needed for long-term career success for today and tomorrow's frontline workers. 

You can also develop a long-term recruitment pipeline by working with local schools in your area. Partner with high schools, community colleges, career schools and technical institutes to get your in-demand skills on the curriculum. This tactic takes some time to pay off, as you might need to wait a year or more before you start receiving applications from these channels. In the long run, you'll have a sustainable source of new hires equipped with the social and cognitive skills that you need.

Recruiting employees with the right mix of cognitive and social skills is a difficult task. You face competition from other businesses, a lack of suitable talent in your area and the potential for positions to go unfilled for months. You can break the mismatch between your expectations and job seekers' skill sets by proactively taking control of their development. In the end, you will have a strong workforce filled with talent that meets your requirements.


Click here to learn more about the Career Readiness Bootcamp



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