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Express Employment Professionals study reveals skills bosses look for in candidates

Aug. 15, 2013

In the third of a series of reports titled “America Employed,” Express Employment Professionals, the nation’s largest privately-held staffing firm, released survey findings that reveal which skills are most important for job seekers to possess.

The study reveals that soft skills – intangible qualities like reliability and motivation – are much more important than hard skills – quantifiable, demonstrable qualities like education and language skills. By a three-to-one margin, a survey of 264 Express franchises across the nation showed that soft skills matter more to employers than hard stills.

The most important soft skills include dependability/reliability, motivation, verbal communication, initiative and commitment. The most important hard skills include experience, technical ability and training.

“Our research shows that what employers value most are the hardest things to put on paper, like reliability and teamwork. That’s why it’s so important for job-seekers to convey these qualities in every interaction with prospective employers,” said Rick Grimord, CEO of the Express Employment Professionals Brookfield, Wis. office.

“The result is that once hired, dependable, motivated people are the first to be promoted, while uncommitted workers are the first to be forgotten. Good workers make a good impression early and often,” Grimord said.

The survey of Express Employment Professionals offices revealed that soft skills are deemed more important than hard skills, 69 percent to 31 percent.

Respondents were asked to select the more important soft skills. The following are the top 10 responses in order of importance:
1) Dependability/reliability – 65%
2) Motivation – 47%
3) Communication (verbal) – 41%
4) Initiative – 39%
5) Commitment – 34%
6) Team work – 33%
7) Enthusiasm – 32%
8) Flexibility/adaptability – 27%
9) Problem solving – 27%
10) Listening – 18%

The study also asked respondents to select the most important hard skills. The following are their responses in order of importance:
1) Experience – 95%
2) Technical ability – 74%
3) Training – 58%
4) Education – 35%
5) Certification – 18%
6) Multilingual – 7%
7) Research ability – 6%

“America Employed – Insights from Express Employment Professionals” explores the state of employment – and unemployment – in America today. Each edition of “America Employed” focuses on a different aspect of who gets hired in America – and why. Additional information is available at

With more than 600 offices in the U.S., Canada and South Africa, Express Employment Professionals offers a full range of employment solutions including evaluation hire, temporary staffing, professional search and human resources. For more information about Express and its services, visit

The Brookfield, Wis. Express Employment Professionals franchise began operations in August of 2012 and provides expertise to the eastern portion of Waukesha County with temporary and full-time employees in a variety of fields including manufacturing, administrative, commercial, accounting and finance, technical and marketing.

The Brookfield Express office is located at 17550 West Bluemound Road, Suite 200, Brookfield, Wis. For more information call 262-754-1350, email, or visit the Express Brookfield, Wis. office’s website at

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