In the job market, hard skills refer to the essential know-how and interpersonal skills required to succeed in a field. Literally, these are “hard” skills that can be acquired during your academic or professional career.

Depending on the industry, required hard skills vary significantly. They help to identify the specialisation of candidates in a given field and to evaluate them. Some, which are more sought after by recruiters, are generally highlighted on CVs.

To be competitive in the job market, it is very important to broaden your skill set. In this article, you will discover everything you need to know about hard skills, as well as a selection of the most sought-after skills.

Definition of Hard Skills

By definition, hard skills refer to a set of know-how and skills acquired during training or on the job. They are tangible proof of a candidate’s ability to perform specific tasks in a given professional field.

Unlike soft skills, hard skills are concrete and quantifiable. They are often materialised by certificates, qualifications, or degrees. A professional recommendation can also serve as proof of hard skills.

These skills and technical abilities are generally obtained via academia. They can also be acquired through continuing education, internships, or professional experience. For instance, proficiency in a foreign language or knowledge of a specific software can be considered hard skills.

Hard Skills in Recruitment

In recruitment, hard skills are among the main criteria for pre-selecting candidates. They are, in fact, sourcing solutions that help to identify the best profile. This tangible proof of your specialisation in a field is what interests recruiters the most.

Why are Hard Skills Evaluated in Recruitment?

When well highlighted, hard skills become the cornerstone of any application. They allow recruiters to quickly gauge a candidate’s skill level and differentiate their profile from another. This expertise can increase your chances for a coveted position.

Hard skills are also rigorously evaluated during company recruitment processes. These skills are considered by both the hiring panel and recruitment software during the pre-selection phase.

How Can They Be Leveraged During a Job Interview?

In a hiring process, it is essential to highlight your hard skills. Whether on your CV or in your cover letter, your technical and professional skills should be mentioned accurately. They should also be relevant and related to the job position.

Hard skills are easily identifiable on a CV. These technical skills are typically listed with precise terms and concrete examples. You should also associate your hard skills with your professional background in the “Education” section.

If you are applying for a digital marketing position, for example, your knowledge of job posting multiposting can be very beneficial. To stand out positively, you can also mention your professional experiences in the field as hard skills.

Steps to Evaluate Hard Skills During Recruitment

As candidate selection tools, hard skills are evaluated by recruiters. This assessment process helps identify the best profiles and find the talent needed for the job. However, the evaluation must follow important steps.

Evaluate Hard Skills with Practical Tests and Projects

These tools provide tangible elements on technical skills such as programming, graphic design, and problem-solving. The results give recruiters precise insights into what these talents can bring to the company.

Conduct Targeted Technical Interviews

This step aims to assess specific hard skills through scenarios and questionnaires directly related to the desired skills. It is not uncommon for interviews to focus on previous projects you have worked on and the challenges encountered.

Request Specific References

These are former employers who can attest to a candidate’s skills through reliable information about their behaviours and abilities. Recruiters ask for these references to confirm your achievements and past experiences.

Evaluate the Relevance of Experience

For recruiters, it is essential to ensure that the candidate has developed the technical skills required for the job. To do this, they carefully examine the candidate’s professional background to detect any discrepancies.

Include Hard Skills in Job Advertisements

Another way to evaluate hard skills is to directly mention the qualifications, certificates, and degrees required in the job advertisements. This method helps attract talent to the company and facilitates the sorting of applications within the ATS.

Consider Human Intervention in the Evaluation Process

Today, it is undeniable that technology greatly facilitates recruitment, particularly the evaluation of soft skills. However, it is important not to overlook the significance of human evaluation, which refines the work of the software.

The Most Sought-After Hard Skills by Companies

As mentioned earlier, hard skills are numerous. They vary from one sector and profession to another. Therefore, it is not possible to exhaustively list all existing technical skills. However, here is a list of the most in-demand ones in the job market.

Data Analysis and Interpretation

The ability to analyse and interpret data is a highly sought-after skill in almost all professional environments. These analyses generally take place following data mining, clinical studies, or administering surveys.

These hard skills rely on the use of statistical methods to extract relevant information from a data set. In increasingly technology-impacted environments, data analysis and interpretation is a transversal technical skill.

Knowledge Management

Knowledge management refers to a set of strategic and operational skills. The goal is to effectively coordinate these concepts to apply them successfully. It is an aggregate of specific theories and knowledge.

This type of hard skill is highly valued in social sciences, IT, or business management. If you work in one of these sectors and aspire to succeed in your career, this technical skill is essential.

Project Management

Project management involves the ability to develop new processes and systems as well as new strategies. Within a company, this skill promotes reorganisation and better functioning of the structure.

The holder of this skill, called a change facilitator, is tasked with restructuring companies. This skill is typically sought after in the event of internal company restructuring.

Social Media Knowledge

Social media has invaded all spheres of socio-professional life. Mastering them is now a highly valued technical skill by modern companies looking to boost their visibility. It involves understanding each social network and its functionalities.

To stand out, you must have proven experience in using them for professional purposes. This knowledge allows you to evaluate the importance of these tools for a company, considering its target audience and sector.

Digital Skills

In the digital field, it is possible to acquire a multitude of hard skills. From content creation, to the use of communication tools, to data processing and protection, these skills cover any application or task related to the Internet and/or computers.

Programming Skills

Programming is a hard skill increasingly sought after in professional environments. Even with a basic knowledge of certain coding languages, it is possible to manage many projects easily.

Depending on the industry and the specific needs of each company, programming language requirements can vary. While some companies may be satisfied with a senior programmer’s HTML expertise, others look for more specific profiles.

Other Hard Skills to Consider

Besides the main hard skills used to evaluate talents, some, which depend on the position to be filled and the sector of activity, are considered specific. In these cases, the sought-after profile remains the determining parameter of the skills to be evaluated.

Foreign Languages

Positions that require international communication demand proficiency in foreign languages. Among them, English is a highly sought-after hard skill in many sectors. Depending on the job profile, you can choose other languages to perfect.

It is notable that large firms and international companies are very interested in multilingual profiles. Even if you do not have a perfect command of these languages, your profile can stand out.

Writing Skills, Mastery of Spelling

Having good writing skills can also be considered a hard skill. In content publishing for general documents, some media require specific skills such as writing texts without spelling, grammar, and syntax errors.

Generally, a candidate’s academic background is enough to give an overview of their skills and the types of texts they are familiar with. Nevertheless, it can be beneficial to include a portfolio of examples of documents you have written in your application.

Typing Speed

In the digital age, typing speed is a basic skill to have. The faster you can type without errors, the more accessible certain positions will be. While some job offers are strict about this hard skill, most recruiters can be lenient.


Acquiring skills is one thing, but being able to transfer your knowledge is another. This hard skill, called coaching, is essential for managerial or coordination positions. Mastery of it requires organisational talent, empathy, and strong leadership.

Software Proficiency

Proficiency in certain software is now among the hiring conditions of many companies. Among them, the Microsoft Office suite and image processing software are in high demand. Content management systems and SEO tools can also be useful.

Sales Prospecting

This hard skill is sought after in all sectors. Since there is always a product or service to sell, knowing how to communicate with prospects and convert them into clients is a great asset. This skill is accompanied by a good dose of empathy, organisation, and communication.


Marketing is a sourcing solution acquired mainly through training or professional experience. Specifically, this hard skill encompasses multiple technical skills such as analytical abilities and knowledge of foreign languages.

This expertise also requires skills in different types of communication: internal, public, interpersonal, and customer-oriented. Additionally, it is necessary to master presentation techniques and possess certain personal soft skills.

What to Remember About Hard Skills?

Hard skills are technical skills related to specific tasks or activities. Highly sought after by companies, they are given particular attention and evaluation during recruitment.

These skills are also essential components that allow a candidate to stand out professionally. This is why it is important to acquire new hard skills to highlight in your application.