The Perils of Neglecting Vital Soft Skills in Hiring

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In the dynamic and competitive small business world, hiring the right employees is not just a matter of finding the most skilled or experienced candidates. It goes beyond the technical qualifications listed on a resume. The real secret to building a successful team lies in understanding and evaluating the often-overlooked aspect of a candidate’s profile – their soft skills. 

In this article, we delve into the dangers of hiring people without properly evaluating their soft skills. We shed light on the alarming connection between employee theft and bankruptcies in the USA. We also explore the crucial soft skills that every candidate should possess, and we provide recommendations for employers on how to detect dishonest or even criminal applicants – before hiring them.


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As business owners and managers, we often focus on the tangible aspects of our organizations – sales, profits, and growth. While these metrics are undoubtedly crucial, they can sometimes blind us to the hidden dangers lurking within our own walls. One such peril is employee theft, a menace that has been steadily contributing to the downfall of many businesses in the United States.

According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), over 30% of bankruptcies in the USA are attributed to employee theft. This shocking statistic serves as a stark reminder of the pressing need for businesses to prioritize honesty and integrity in their hiring processes.


In a world where the cost of living is rising, and job opportunities can be fiercely competitive, the temptation to engage in dishonest behavior at the workplace can be alluring to some individuals. Employee theft can take various forms, from embezzlement and fraud to pilfering office supplies or company merchandise. Regardless of the scale, the repercussions of such behavior can be devastating for businesses, leading to financial losses, damaged reputations, and even bankruptcy.

The question then becomes, how can employers ensure that they are not unwittingly welcoming dishonest individuals into their organizations? The answer lies in assessing and evaluating a candidate’s soft skills, with a particular emphasis on honesty and integrity.


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Soft skills encompass a wide range of personal attributes and interpersonal abilities that are essential for success in the workplace. While the significance of these skills varies depending on the nature of the job, there are several universal soft skills that every candidate should possess, regardless of their role within the organization.

  1. Honesty and Integrity: Perhaps the most crucial soft skill of all, honesty, and integrity are the bedrock of trust in any organization. Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to ethical behavior, transparency, and a strong moral compass.
  2. Communication Skills: Effective communication is the cornerstone of collaboration and teamwork. Candidates should be able to convey their ideas clearly, listen actively, and build positive relationships with colleagues and clients.
  3. Adaptability: In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, adaptability is key. Employees need to be able to embrace change, learn new skills, and navigate uncertainty with resilience.
  4. Problem-Solving: Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are invaluable. Candidates should be able to analyze complex situations, make informed decisions, and find creative solutions to challenges.
  5. Emotional Intelligence: Understanding and managing one’s emotions, as well as empathizing with others, is crucial for effective teamwork and leadership.
  6. Work Ethic: A strong work ethic is a fundamental soft skill. Candidates should be diligent, reliable, and committed to delivering quality work.
  7. Teamwork: Collaboration is a vital aspect of most jobs. Candidates should be able to work harmoniously with others, contribute to group goals, and resolve conflicts constructively.

NOTE: Our Hire Master® Implementation Program includes a yearly license of our unique pre-hire assessment platform – unlimited users and unlimited number of tests. Ask me for more details on this program.


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Now that we’ve established the importance of evaluating soft skills and identified the essential ones, let’s explore how employers can detect dishonest or even criminal employees during the hiring process and beyond:

  • Background Checks: Conduct thorough background checks on all candidates to uncover any past criminal activities or fraudulent behavior. This should include criminal records, credit checks, and reference checks.
  • Behavioral Interviewing: Incorporate behavioral interview questions that probe a candidate’s past behavior in situations that require honesty and integrity. Ask for specific examples of how they handled ethical dilemmas.
  • Reference Checks: Contact references provided by the candidate and ask probing questions about their work ethics, trustworthiness, and integrity. Former employers or colleagues can often provide valuable insights.
  • Psychometric Testing: Use psychometric assessments designed to measure personality traits, including honesty and integrity. These tests can provide valuable insights into a candidate’s character.
  • Ongoing Monitoring: After hiring, implement ongoing monitoring systems, such as regular audits and checks, to detect any unusual or suspicious behavior among employees.
  • Whistleblower Programs: Create a culture of transparency and accountability within your organization by establishing a whistleblower program. Encourage employees to report any unethical behavior they witness.
  • Training and Awareness: Educate employees about the consequences of dishonesty and the importance of ethics in the workplace. Provide training on recognizing and reporting suspicious activity.

NOTE: Our Hire Master® Implementation Program reduces the odds of hiring dishonest or criminal employees by at least 300%. Ask me for more details on this program.


Here are 10 examples with statistical evidence that highlight the success of employers who prioritize candidates’ soft skills in their talent acquisition efforts:

  1. Higher Success in the Hiring Process: According to LinkedIn, 89% of recruiters say when a hire does not work out well, it usually comes down to a lack of soft skills.
  2. Increased Job Performance: Research conducted by Carnegie Mellon Foundation has found that 75% of job success is determined by soft skills mastery, while only 25% is determined by technical skills.
  3. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: Harvard Business Review reports that companies that prioritize soft skills in hiring have 24% higher customer satisfaction scores than those that don’t.
  4. Improved Leadership: A survey by the Center for Creative Leadership found that 89% of organizations consider soft skills like emotional intelligence as more important than technical skills for leadership roles.
  5. Better Team Collaboration: A McKinsey study revealed that teams with members who possess strong soft skills, such as empathy and active listening, are 20% more likely to perform well and achieve their goals.
  6. Faster Problem Solving: Research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology shows that teams composed of individuals with strong soft skills can solve complex problems 50% faster than teams lacking these skills.
  7. Higher Revenue Growth: A report by LinkedIn found that companies with employees who excel in soft skills achieve 16% higher revenue growth compared to those with employees lacking these skills.
  8. Reduced Recruitment Costs: The Aberdeen Group reported that organizations that prioritize soft skills in hiring reduce their recruitment costs by 32% due to lower turnover and fewer hiring mistakes.
  9. Increased Employee Engagement: Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report reveals that employees with strong soft skills are 60% more likely to be engaged in their jobs, contributing to higher overall productivity.
  10. Competitive Advantage: According to a survey by Deloitte, 92% of executives believe that soft skills are critical for gaining a competitive edge in the market, highlighting the strategic importance of focusing on these skills in talent acquisition.


The danger of hiring people without properly evaluating their soft skills cannot be overstated. The alarming connection between employee theft and bankruptcies in the USA serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of neglecting honesty and integrity in the workplace.

By prioritizing the assessment of essential soft skills such as honesty, integrity, communication, adaptability, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, work ethic, and teamwork, you can build teams that not only excel in their roles but also contribute to the ethical fabric of the organization.

To safeguard against dishonest or criminal employees, a comprehensive approach that includes background checks, behavioral interviewing, reference checks, psychometric testing, ongoing monitoring, whistleblower programs, and ethical training is essential.

In the end, businesses that prioritize soft skills and maintain a vigilant stance against dishonesty will not only protect themselves from financial ruin but also foster a culture of trust, integrity, and success that will endure for years to come.

NOTE: Our Hire Master® Implementation Program guarantees to help you operate the most effective hiring process – at a cost lower than one single hiring campaign. Ask me for more details on this program.

Best success,

Patrick Valtin,

CEO Hirebox