Hard Skills: Definition + Example of the 10 hard skills most in demand during recruitment

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The hard skills are essential to consider when recruiting new talent for your company. Representing an individual’s technical skills, concrete and generally quantifiable, they enable objective analysis of their know-how in interviews.

However, before immediately judging every hard skill of a candidate during the hiring process, it is important to know which technical skills are priorities for a given position, their value and how to evaluate them. This global knowledge of know-how is essential to guarantee a more efficient recruitment process.

Would you like to know everything there is to know about hard skills in order to recruit the best people for your company? Intuition Software explains all about these technical skills, how to assess them, and presents 10 examples of the hard skills most in demand by recruiters.

  • Hard Skills: definition
  • What is the value of hard skills in recruitment?
  • How to assess your candidates’ hard skills ?
  • Hard skills: examples of the 10 most sought-after skills ?
The definition of hard skills is important to understand

Hard Skills: definition

Hard skills are the technical skills or know-how of an individual. The concept of hard skill can be likened to a toolbox acquired through learning, whether during studies, professional training or during one’s career. Unlike soft skills, behavioral skills are easily demonstrable, thanks in particular to diplomas or certifications.

Hard skills are learned from an early age, then developed and expanded throughout education and professional careers, diverging according to field of activity and position (programming, accounting, reading, writing, design, management, etc.).

Hard skills thus concern all the practical know-how needed to perform a recurring task, whether it’s mastery of a foreign language, software, an industrial or craft process, etc.

To stand out in the recruitment process, a candidate must list the main hard skills he/she has mastered on his/her CV, depending on the position. This enables them to demonstrate skills that are highly valued in job offers, in line with their training or experience, and, for the recruiter, to check whether the candidate is suitable for the position.

What is the value of hard skills in recruitment?

Hard skills contribute directly to productivity, quality of work and the achievement of corporate objectives. In fact, by assessing them as early as the recruitment process, you ensure that the candidate has the technical skills required to excel in the position.

Candidates must demonstrate their adaptability and ability to think on their feet, for example by demonstrating their mastery of software in a different context from the one to which they are accustomed. With the changing needs of the job market, certain hard skills can quickly become obsolete.

What’s more, you shouldn’t rely solely on the technical skills listed on your CV or cover letter. In fact, recruiters insist on finding the “right profile”, which in turn affects candidates’ behavior. More than 28% of candidates surveyed admit to having lied on their CV to get an interview, and 91% are ready to do it again, according to an Indeed study conducted in 2023.

To combat recruitment difficulties and ensure that the candidate chosen for a position can successfully fulfill his or her missions and thrive in the role, so you need to evaluate each hard skill intelligently.

CVs and training allow us to identify a candidate's list of hard skills

How to assess your candidates’ hard skills ?

To measure your candidates’ technical skills, you first need to identify the hard skills that are essential for the job. You can then evaluate them using various methods.

Indeed, before writing a job ad, first familiarize yourself with the hard skills, certificates, and diplomas that are essential and useful for the position in question. Then, remember to ask for these precise qualifications in the job ad, so that applicant tracking software (ATS) can sort applications according to these specific skills.

Then, depending on the nature of the hard skills to be assessed and the stage of recruitment, you can opt for the most appropriate method for measuring essential technical skills in candidates. For example, you can include in the job offer:

  • A link to a customized or standardized test to be taken on an online or live assessment platform, such as a typing speed and accuracy test for an interview with a independent secretary for example;
  • an exercise to be carried out and returned with the application, such as writing an article on a given theme or creating a post for a social network
  • a case study to analyse with targeted questions
  • A portfolio request.

Remember to be transparent in the job advertisement by detailing the types of exercises or tests that will be required of successful candidates at each stage of the recruitment process. This kind of information has several advantages:

  • Candidates can better prepare themselves
  • Many candidates won’t take the time to take a hard skills test if they don’t meet the criteria set out in the job advertisement.

However, your method of evaluating a hard skill should not take too long, so as not to discourage candidates. Similarly, the latter must be informed of the need to take a test measuring their technical skills, must be able to decide whether to refuse it, in agreement with the Code du Travail.

Finally, it is important to understand the advantages and limitations of the technology. Tools can simplify the process, but a human assessment remains essential for a complete understanding of a candidate’s hard skills.

Among all the examples of hard skills, some are more sought-after than others

Hard skills: examples of the 10 most sought-after skills ?

There are many examples of hard skills, which can vary considerably depending on the position or field of activity, and there is no exhaustive list. However, to guide you in your assessments, we present a list of the 10 hard skills most in demand by HR.

  1. Foreign languages, an international hard skill

Proficiency in foreign languages is a not insignificant asset for many positions. Whether in commerce, tourism or communications, it is now essential to speak English or a second foreign language (Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, etc.).

What’s more, depending on the company or position you’re targeting, mastery of one or more foreign languages is one of the most sought-after hard skills. International companies, for example, will instinctively demand this technical skill from their candidates.

  1. Digital marketing, a modern technical skill

Digital marketing is a technical skill that is very much in vogue these days. Indeed, with the development of digital tools, it is essential to know how to master them to promote your products on all channels.

What’s more, constant change requires someone who specializes in this field. As a result, it is an increasingly sought-after skill.

  1. Programming, an example of a specialized hard skill

Programming is a specialized hard skill in great demand these days. Indeed, coding is a relevant resource that requires different skills and knowledge of different programming languages (CSS, HTML, Python, etc.), depending on the software and the company.

This technical skills are therefore particularly targeted and must be specified on the CV, detailing the various programming languages mastered by the candidate.

The right hard skill on a CV can make the difference between two candidate profiles
  1. Corporate management, an essential hard skill

Company management is an essential hard skill if you’re applying for a position running a company. With a large number of responsibilities, this skill requires a large number of aptitudes to successfully carry out the company’s mission – leadership, organization, communication, initiative, etc. – which are mixed with several soft skills.

While this technical skill is generally developed over the course of a career, certain training courses can help you get the basics right. Then, as experience is gained, the candidate’s skills will grow.

  1. Knowledge of social networks, an example of a useful technical skill

Knowledge of social networks is a very useful technical skill today, given their importance and influence. Indeed, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram/Threads, Twitter/X or Tik Tok, their reach and impact are no longer up for debate and knowing how to supervise and boost your online presence has become essential.

So it’s important to be familiar with these platforms, whether B2B or B2C, and to know how to determine the right tone and message for each channel. This hard skill has therefore become essential for targeting the right audience and getting the right message across in the right place, to generate maximum interest and, potentially, conversion.

  1. Project management, a necessary skill

Project management is a necessary skill to know how to bring a project to fruition while managing a team to achieve it. This technical skill requires good organization, the ability to manage a project from A to Z, and a certain amount of experience in the sector concerned.

  1. Change management, a technical skill in demand

Leading change, also known as “change management”, is a technical skill in demand with the recurrent changes in today’s society. Indeed, this hard skill enables be able to define and implement new strategies tailored to the company in question.

It’s all about knowing how to spot the flaws and challenges in a structure to help it function more effectively. This may involve reorganizing part of the company, rebranding, reorganizing a team, etc.

Data analysis and interpretation are hard skills that can be highly recommended

8. Data analysis and interpretation, a recommended hard skill

Analyzing and interpreting data is a recommended hard skill in a world where technology is increasingly present. Indeed, this technical skill enables gather interesting data using mainly qualitative and quantitative methods such as statistics (surveys, studies, data mining, etc.).).

9. Administrative management, a sought-after technical skill

Administrative management is a highly sought-after technical skill, as it encompasses all the activities required for the smooth running of a company’s administrative operations. For secretarial work, reception, scheduling or customer management, it remains essential.

10. Sales techniques, a sought-after skill

Sales techniques are a hard skill sought after by many companies, for many different positions. Whether you’re looking for a sales or marketing position, this technical skill is essential.

Hard skills are therefore essential in the recruitment process, to find the ideal candidate. While these technical skills should not be neglected, they should always be targeted to the needs of the position in question. Intuition Software can help you in this process!

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