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HR Soft Skills in Demand in 2021/2022

Posted by Claire Stradling

Most human resources skills fall into the category of soft skills due to how much of the job deals with person-to-person interaction. These skills are in high demand because every HR professional needs them regardless of their role. The challenges that have been set upon many HR professionals during the pandemic has surged the demand for these 5 key soft skills by employers during 2021 leading the way for recruitment expectations in 2022.


This can be a difficult skill to cultivate because it requires working in an environment that allows you to innovate. With many organisations now with a hybrid working pattern, which may be predominantly remote, it’s important to ensure that creative thinking and planning is included to ensure your organisation encourages innovation. Think about your personal life and the ways you’ve innovated in your daily life or hobbies. Showing a recruiter how your brain works and innovates off the job is just as valuable as demonstrating your qualifications on paper. 

Discussing your experiences where you innovated something to provide a better solution is key. Did you suggest new training procedures to increased employee engagement? Or maybe you devised a better system for tracking annual leave? Talk about those successes and wins in both your CV and further discussion during the interview.

Fostering Cultural Intelligence and Diversity

Having cultural intelligence and awareness beyond your own is highly attractive to employers, particularly with those who work cross border. Moreover, cultural intelligence is also important while communicating with individuals belonging to other sectors within the same company. 

It allows easy communication across sectors, necessary for a company to run smoothly. Cultural intelligence makes it easier for employees to interact with individuals and corporate customers, gain their trust, and have an advantage over their competition.

Cultural intelligence helps bridge the gap between outsourced divisions, local customers, and colleagues. It leads to an in-depth understanding of the working pattern in various parts of the globe and ergonomically adapts to those patterns. It is instrumental in creating awareness of the emerging markets and management styles, making cultural intelligence and diversity a soft skill frequently sought after in candidates. 

Emotional Intelligence

This is the ability to perceive, evaluate, and respond to your emotions and the emotions of others. This means that you are able to think empathetically about the people around you and the interpersonal relationships that develop in the workplace.

This is another soft skill that has taken on new meaning for 2021. Stress, grief, and frustration are abundant as we continue to work through the pandemic and onwards. From new work-from-home challenges to lost loved ones or other pandemic issues, having the ability to read the emotions of your co-workers and respond with compassion is essential. 

During the interview, don’t forget to highlight how you have developed your EI, perhaps if you’re comfortable doing so, highlighting some of the personal events and how it has helped you develop a deeper EI quota.

Decision Making

As you get further into your career path, there will be more emphasis on the management part of human resources management. Leaders are expected to make tough decisions at every turn and it’s no different for those who work in HR. Being able to decide which candidate to hire, how to handle an internal conflict, or even how to communicate tough news all circle back to strong decision-making skills.

When highlighting your career experience, talk about a time you had to make a tough decision at work. Show how you were a leader and decision-maker in your previous positions and be ready to discuss it during an interview.


Moving to a partial or complete work-from-home environment was a big leap of faith for many employers. Would their teams be legitimately productive away from their office? Without the natural structure that a day at the office provides, flexibility became a soft skill that quickly rose to the top of many recruiters' priority lists.

Flexibility is the ability to adapt and respond to the changing environment and to constructively create opportunities for change through active participation. It is a core competency required of an HR professional, now more than ever. Flexibility is required with time, finances, workload, as well as understanding and the ability to demonstrate this key trait, is not only attractive to the employer, but to the employees, the HR professionals are recruiting.

To conclude, there are many soft skills that are immeasurable to the success of an HR department and organisation. The key oversight for many employers is to only focus on the technical competencies of their employees, however, soft skills are taking up vital space in organisational functions. Think of your soft skills as your accessories. Alone will not qualify you for a job, but when paired with solid credentials, they will complement your hard skills and can make you a much more attractive candidate. 

For more information on this article or to speak to our specialist recruitment consultants about your next HR role in the charity sector, contact



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