Hard vs. Soft Skills

Business English, Speaking Lessons, English for HR
B2 Upper-Intermediate, C1 Advanced
Mixed Grammar
Speaking, Vocabulary, Listening
Lesson ID
Lesson Time
30 minutes
Illustration depicting students learning the difference between hard and soft skills and discussing examples of each in an English lesson.

Lesson Description

What skills do you have in your bag of tricks? In this lesson, students will learn the difference between hard and soft skills and discuss examples of each. This lesson features audio of a job interview in which the interviewer asks the interviewee about hard and soft skills. Students will also learn and practice vocabulary and idioms relating to this topic. The lesson activities include plenty of engaging discussion activities and worksheets that have been developed for adults and teenagers.

Lesson Objectives

  • To learn and discuss the difference between hard and soft skills and examples of each

  • To learn and practice vocabulary and idioms relating to this topic

  • To develop speaking and listening skills


Listen to the audio of a man being interviewed for a job. Does he have the right hard and soft skills to impress the interviewer? Maybe he has what it takes to think outside the box to succeed in this role.

Audio Transcript

Vocabulary and Pronunciation

hard skills [noun]: teachable and measurable abilities, such as writing, reading, math, or the ability to use computer programs
soft skills [noun]: traits that make you a good employee, such as etiquette, communication, and getting along with people
bag of tricks [idiom]: items, skills, methods, or techniques available for use
project management [noun]: the process of planning and managing a project to successfully complete its listed goals
interpersonal skills [noun]: the skills we use to communicate and interact with people on a daily basis
multilingualism [noun]: knowledge of more languages than a native language
customer service [noun]: the assistance/advice provided by a company to people who buy its products
demographic [noun]: the characteristics of people in a particular area, such as age, population, ethnic origins, religion, purposes, and income
social media manager [noun]: a person in charge of representing a company across social channels as a sole voice of the brand
get the hang of [idiom]: to learn the skills that are needed to do something
fast-paced environment [noun]: a type of workplace where things happen quickly
think outside the box [idiom]: to explore ideas that are creative and unusual that are not limited or controlled by rules or tradition
have what it takes [idiom]: to have the necessary qualities and skills needed for success
in over one’s head [idiom]: means someone is involved in something full of difficulty, something that is beyond that person’s ability to cope
learning curve [noun]: the rate of a person’s progress in gaining experience, knowledge, or new skills
SEO marketing [noun]: Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when people search for products or services
proofreading [noun]: examining text carefully to find errors relating to grammar, style, or spelling
mediocre [adjective]: of moderate or low quality, values, ability, or performance
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