Balancing Hard and Soft Skills within the Engineering Environment
By Infraspec | October 25, 2023 | 0 Comments

Balancing Hard and Soft Skills within the Engineering Environment

Within engineering and construction programmes, employers/ recruiters have traditionally evaluated candidates mainly based on hard skills; however, in today’s changing economic landscape, there is an increasing demand for candidates who can offer both technical expertise and soft skills, ultimately providing greater potential value to businesses.

As a Project Planner, Project Controls Engineer or Quantity Surveyor or Commercial Manager, it has become evident that in order to stand out from a sea of candidates with similar credentials and experience, it is necessary for individuals to not only possess excellent technical qualifications but also demonstrate their commercial acumen through strong interpersonal abilities, collaboration capabilities and emotional intelligence.

In this blog post, we’ll explore why balancing hard and soft skills is the key to finding the best fit for your company—and how to structure candidate evaluations accordingly.

What are hard and soft skills, and how do they differ?

To succeed in any field, it’s essential to have both hard and soft skills.

Hard skills are measurable abilities often learned through formal training or education. These include technical skills like using planning software (P6 or Asta Power Project) or utilising engineering contracts like NEC3/ 4 and performing data analysis and reporting tasks.

On the other hand, soft skills are less tangible and refer to social and emotional intelligence.

Examples of these skills include leadership, communication, stakeholder management teamwork, and collaboration. Together, a combination of hard and soft skills is crucial for job success because they build a well-rounded individual who is competent, adaptable, and able to navigate complex situations.

While hard skills help employees perform their duties effectively, soft skills enable them to build relationships and work collaboratively with others.

Understand the concept of balancing hard and soft skills when evaluating candidates

Evaluating a candidate’s skills and experience is crucial to determine if they’re the right fit. However, it’s important to remember that assessing a candidate’s abilities isn’t just about looking at their hard skills.

Soft skills like communication, collaboration, and adaptability are just as important, if not more so. Balancing hard and soft skills when evaluating candidates can make the difference between choosing someone who’s merely competent and an invaluable addition to your team.

To stand out from other applicants, candidates should focus on improving both their hard and soft skills. A balance between the two is key to being a well-rounded employee who employers highly regard.

Use assessments such as interviews, tests, and questionnaires to evaluate both hard and soft skills

Evaluating skills is essential in any workplace, whether a small business or a big corporation.

With the right assessments, employers can quickly determine if a candidate possesses the necessary skills and qualities for the job. That’s where interviews, tests, and questionnaires come in.

These tools provide a comprehensive view of a candidate’s skills, including both hard and soft skills. A well-designed interview can provide critical insights into a candidate’s communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and work ethic. At the same time, tests and questionnaires can help identify specific technical skills and knowledge.

For instance, a software development company may use coding tests to assess candidates’ ability to write clean and efficient code. In contrast, a customer service organisation might use situational judgment tests to evaluate a candidate’s decision-making and conflict-resolution skills.

So whether you’re a candidate hoping to land your dream job or a recruiter trying to find the perfect fit for your team, make sure you’re giving equal weight to both hard and soft skills – and using various tools to evaluate them fairly.


As every business confronts the challenge of selecting the ideal candidate for any position, employers must utilise a balanced approach to evaluate soft and hard skills.

A comprehensive evaluation plan should include interviews, tests, and questionnaires, which can help employers gain insights into a candidate’s capabilities and match them to their desired role.

By understanding the importance of both hard and soft skills to successful candidates, as well as utilising a variety of methods to evaluate different types of skills, businesses can equip themselves with more accurate ways to identify the individuals that best fit their openings.

Further research into employer strategies will give companies the necessary resources they need to compile effective evaluation plans that optimise candidate selection for better long-term success. Finally, take action today by assessing your team’s current hiring processes and see where they can be improved by incorporating a broader range of soft and hard skill evaluation practices.

We can support you in building a skilled, adaptable workforce. Contact us today to find out more.

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