Recruitment Agency Explains Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

When recruitment agencies like Nova Staffing start looking for candidates to fill a job opening, we check to see if they have the practical knowledge to do the role. These are known as “hard skills.” While these are important, most people applying for a job all have the same technical skills, which is why employment agencies will turn to soft skills. But what exactly is the difference between hard and soft skills? Our hiring experts break it down for you.


Hard Skills Explained

Most people understand what hard skills are. They’re easy to define and measure. Essentially, a hard skill is a technical talent or ability that is usually specific to a certain job or industry. Hard skills can be learned through schooling or training. Most people list multiple hard skills on their resumes. These are things like certifications, specialty skills, or technical talents.


Examples of hard skills include:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Data Analytics
  • Foreign Language
  • Cloud Computing
  • Coding
  • Web Development
  • Driving Certificate
  • And more!


There are tons of hard skills applicable to different industries. When our hiring agents write job descriptions, we usually list which hard skills our clients are looking for in candidates. Just think of hard skills as job-specific talents like a commercial driver being certified for large trucks or a nurse knowing how to draw blood.


Soft Skills Explained

Soft skills are a little harder to explain and measure. These are interpersonal skills or abilities that help others get along and collaborate in the workplace. While soft skills can be taught and learned, a lot of it also comes down to personality and individuality. Recruitment agencies often include ideal soft skills for job positions, but since these are harder to measure, they’re more suggestions than requirements.


Examples of soft skills include:

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Critical Thinking
  • Adaptability
  • Time Management
  • Multitasking
  • And more!


Soft skills aren’t as industry-specific as hard skills. These are abilities you probably naturally have or have unconsciously developed throughout your life. Don’t let the name fool you, though- for many companies’ soft skills are much more valuable than hard skills since they’re harder to teach. For example, in logistics, time management and multitasking are extremely valuable skills that can’t really be taught. If you don’t have them, you won’t thrive in the position, so be honest when you apply for jobs about whether or not you have the soft skills to succeed.


Final Thoughts

So, how can you easily remember the difference between hard and soft skills? Hard skills are technical abilities usually tailored towards a specific job or industry. Soft skills are interpersonal skills applicable across multiple roles and fields. Having the right hard skills on your resume might land you an interview, but it’s soft skills that our hiring agencies look for and that companies value the most. Including a good mix of both when you apply for jobs is the best bet.


If you’re looking for a job, check out Nova Staffing’s online job board or contact us today! Our team of HR experts is ready to help you start a new career.

6 Ways to Reduce Job Interview Anxiety

Interviewing for a new job can be stressful, even if you feel more than qualified for the position. If you feel interview anxiety before the big day, know you’re not alone. It’s completely understandable and common. After all, our job and salary make a big impact on our overall quality of life. Everyone wants to nail their interview in hopes of landing a job offer. Nerves can trip you up, though, so here are a few tips from our recruitment experts at Nova Staffing on how to reduce them!


Take Time to Prepare

A lot of job interview anxiety comes from the unknown. You can eliminate this by preparing ahead of time. Set aside time in the days leading up to the interview to review your resume, reread the job posting, and research the company. The more ready and prepared you are, the less your nerves will be.


Do a Practice Interview

Don’t just stop at research and revision if you’re super nervous. Have a family member or friend set up a mock interview! Practicing questions and responses will help you feel more comfortable and give you a chance to prepare good answers. Especially focus on things like your past accomplishments and what you can bring to the role.


Dress to Impress

When we look good, we feel good! Everyone knows to dress up a bit for an interview, but make sure you’re picking an outfit that makes you feel confident. If you feel awkward and uncomfortable, that’s going to come across in the interview. Take the time to plan out your outfit ahead of time so you can ensure you look confident, even if you don’t feel it. This will also prevent any last-minute scrambling from ironing a shirt or finding the right shoes on the day of.  


Minimize the Unknowns

Make sure you have all of the little details down ahead of time so that you’re not caught out due to miscommunication at the last minute. Verify things such as where you’re meeting, the time, and even read up on who you’re meeting with if you know. If the interview is virtual, make sure you set the software ahead of time and get yourself familiar with the technology.


Mind Your Thoughts

When we’re anxious about something, it’s easy to let negative thoughts overtake us. What if there’s traffic and I miss the interview? What if Zoom crashes? What if I say the wrong thing? While it’s natural to worry about what can go wrong, make sure that you focus on the positives too. There’s a reason they’re interviewing you, so remind yourself on the positive aspects of the situation as well.


Decompress the Day Before

The night before the interview should be about reviewing rather than full-on prep. If you’ve prepared ahead of time, all you need to do the night before is look everything over again, so it’s fresh in your mind. After that, lower your stress by doing something that you enjoy or that relaxes you. Maybe it’s reading a book or working out. Maybe it’s chatting with a friend or meditating. Whatever works to keep you calm, do it!


Are you ready to make a career move or looking for a new position? Contact us today or check out our online job listings! Nova Staffing is one of the best recruitment agencies in Toronto, and we’re here to help you find your next position.


What Recruitment Agencies Look for in Production and Warehouse Candidates

Many entry-level careers in production and warehousing are better paying than other entry-level positions in other industries such as customer service and retail. It’s an easy career to get into and often has room for upward mobility. It’s also an industry that is in high demand right now. That doesn’t mean every candidate is a good fit, though. Here are a few things employment agencies like Nova Staffing look for in candidates for these positions.



Experience isn’t necessary for every job position, but it certainly helps. Recruitment agencies especially look at experience running certain types of machines. Already knowing how to use equipment in warehouses is a huge plus. Everyone has to start somewhere, though, so if it’s an entry-level production or warehousing position, don’t stress if you don’t have experience yet.



Dependability is huge for warehouse and production jobs. When someone misses their shift, it can mean a decline in production and revenue, not to mention additional stress and pressure on the other employees. An employment agency will look for a good job history with few gaps as evidence that you’re a reliable candidate. Having major gaps in employment or switching jobs frequently doesn’t mean you won’t be considered but expect to be asked about it during the interview process.



Warehouses and factories are high-paced work environments. Companies are looking for candidates that have the ability to learn quickly and adapt to change. Remember, companies have to meet a certain quota within their deadline, or their whole business is at risk. Candidates that can learn new tasks quickly are highly valued and sought after.



Many people might not think communication is important in a production or warehouse role, but they couldn’t be more wrong. These workplaces are fast-paced and use a lot of heavy equipment. Being able to listen and communicate effectively is key to productivity and safety.



If you’re looking for a higher-paying career in warehousing, production, manufacturing, or factories, you should consider specializing your skillset. Candidates with certifications or training in things like welding, CNC, forklifts, and more will see more job opportunities and growth. If you have any specialized skills, be sure to let the recruitment agency know!


If you’re ready to start your new career, contact us today or check out our online job listings! Nova Staffing is one of the top employment agencies in the GTA. Our team of staffing experts have over 200 years of combined industry experience and can help find you the perfect position.  


How Recruitment Agencies Can Help Reduce Staff Turnover

People will come and go in any company, but high employee turnover is bad for business. Companies lose time, money, and productivity having to train new staff to replace those that left. It can also make your team become demoralized, distracted, and disenfranchised by how many people rotate through. High turnover rates could mean there’s something wrong in your business culture or practices, or it could just mean you’re hiring the wrong people! Here are a few ways a professional recruitment agency can help you attract and retain employees.


Save Time

It’s not unusual to have weeks or even months between when an employee leaves the business and when their replacement starts. During this time, your remaining team members will be picking up the slack, resulting in lower productivity and more stress. A recruitment agency can drastically reduce the amount of time between employees leaving and new ones starting. Recruitment agencies solely focus on hiring, know how to write enticing job listings, and have a pool of talent available to them, allowing them to fill vacant positions much faster than a company could do on their own. Employment agencies can also find quality temporary staffing to bridge the gap.


Qualified and Skilled

One of the best ways to reduce high turnover is to hire qualified candidates. Hiring unqualified or under-skilled employees can cause resentment with current employees, increase stress for everyone, and unsatisfactory work that reduces productivity. Unqualified employees tend to leave once they realize they can’t do the job effectively, resulting in your company having to start the hiring process over again. Recruitment agencies know how to find quality candidates that can jump into the position, making a great impression, and immediately start getting results.


Right Fit

Finding the right candidate isn’t just about experience or skills. Company culture and personality also play a role. Recruitment agencies will learn what your business does and how it does it. By understanding your company culture, employment agencies can ensure the candidates they send your way are qualified and fit in with your team. New hires that don’t fit in with your company will leave, no matter how good at the job they are or how much you pay them. It’s crucial to hire employees who are the right fit, and that can help move your company forward with everyone else.


Training and Transitioning

A recruitment agency’s job isn’t always done once they fill a vacant position. Many staffing agencies also help with onboarding and training to ensure a smooth transition for the candidate. By checking in with them and providing them with a point of contact, new hires will feel heard and valued. A recruitment agency can help support new hires, making them feel more comfortable in their new role so that they’ll want to stay.


Does your company need help with filling vacant positions? Contact Nova Staffing today! We’re one of the best employment agencies in Toronto and Brampton. Our team of HR experts is ready to help your business with all of your staffing needs.


Ontario Employment Outlook: February 2021 Report

After a rocky start to the year in January, which saw employment sharply drop as a result of a second lockdown, February saw employment bounce back. Ontario’s employment rate increased by 1.4%, the largest increase month-from-month since last September.


Here is a quick market summary report of Ontario’s employment outlook for February 2021, compiled by our staffing experts at Nova Staffing. All data is from the Ontario Government February 2021 Labour Market Report.



Employment Outlook

Employment dropped significantly in January 2021 as a result of the second provincial-wide COVID-19 lockdown. February saw it pick up, with Ontario’s employment rate rising to 58.5% from 57.7% in January, adding 100,300 new jobs.


In addition to employment increasing, unemployment also went down. The unemployment rate dropped from 10.2% in January to 9.2% in February. Overall, Ontario saw the number of unemployed individuals drop by 9.5%.


Employment by Age

Age continued to play a factor in employment in February, with Youth (15-24) remaining the furthest from pre-COVID levels than any other age group. Youth Employment did increase in February, though, adding 23,100 new jobs. Youth unemployment in Ontario also dropped to 20.9% from 21.8%.


After taking a major hit in January, Adult Employment (25-54) added 66,700 new jobs in February and saw unemployment in this demographic drop from 8.3% to 7.3%. Senior employment also added 10,500 new jobs and saw unemployment drop to 7.1% from 8.3% in January.


Employment by Sector

Employment in certain industries was hit harder than others due to what Ontario considered “essential” during the lockdown. Certain sectors fell well below their pre-COVID employment numbers in February, while others saw increases. In February, the industries that saw the greatest employment growth were Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (+40.3%), Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, and Leasing (+28.5%), Manufacturing (+27.2%), and Forestry, Fishing, Mining, Quarrying, and Oil (+0.6%).


Other sectors saw significant employment loss in February and were far from their pre-COVID levels. The greatest employment loss was in Accommodation and Food Services (-121.9%), Wholesale and Retail Trade (-85.3%), Business, Building, and Other Support Services (-51.5%), and Transportation and Warehousing (-36%).


Employment by Region

After a rough January, employment increased in ten of the sixteen Ontario CMAs in February. The regions that saw employment growth were Ottawa-Gatineau (+13.2%), London (+4%), Hamilton (+3.9%), Peterborough (+2.1%), Windsor (+2%), Belleville (+1.6%), Guelph (+1.2), Barrie (+0.2%), Brantford (+0.2%), Kingston (+0.1%).


Not all regions of Ontario saw employment growth in February 2021. Six of Ontario CMAs saw a decrease. These regions were Toronto (-38.3%), St. Catharine’s-Niagara (-4.5%), Oshawa (-2.25), Thunder Bay (-0.9%), Greater Sudbury (-0.4%), Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo (-0.1%).


Are you looking for more employment insight or staffing solutions? Contact Nova Staffing today! We’re one of the top employment agencies in the GTA and have a team of HR experts ready to help you with all of your staffing needs.


How to Keep Employees Motivated During Lockdown

Ontario recently entered its third COVID-19 lockdown, which has left many people feeling disheartened and burnt out. Employers should think about what they can do to ensure employees remain engaged, motivated, and healthy as we continue to battle the pandemic. Here are a few tips from our HR experts at Nova Staffing on how to help your employees during this difficult time.


Establish Clear Guidelines

One of the hardest things about the COVID-19 pandemic has been not knowing what to expect. There are not many things businesses can do about the virus, but employers can help their workers by establishing clear guidelines on what they expect during this latest lockdown. Whether your employees are work from home or still in the workspace, make sure you once again articulate job expectations, work hours, and COVID-19 policies. Taking away as much uncertainty as possible will make it easier for your employees to focus on their work. 


Open Channels of Communication

Communication is key to any effective workplace, but especially during lockdown when employees already feel more isolated. The last thing you want to do is make your workers feel like they are on their own and unsupported. This will increase the chance of them feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Ensure you’re clearly communicating what you need from your employees and opening up a communication line for them to come to you with any problems.


Be Transparent and Honest

Entering lockdown for a third time, especially as other parts of the world are starting to open up, has been incredibly hard and frustrating for everyone. It has impacted everyone in Ontario- employers and employees alike. Employers should be open about this so that employees don’t feel like they’re the only ones dealing with these issues. Employees will feel better just knowing that those above them are dealing with the same struggles.


Celebrate Success

It can feel like there’s not much good left right now, which is why it’s so important for businesses to celebrate all the success employees have, no matter how big or small. When employees that go above and beyond their duty don’t get acknowledged, they’re more likely to become disengaged and unmotivated. That’s why employers should make an effort to praise and appreciate employees for every achievement.


Be Understanding and Compassionate

As Ontario enters another lockdown, your employees are probably dealing with more changes than just working from home or new workplace health and safety guidelines. Working parents now have to handle kids being at home and virtual schooling. Employees may have elderly or at-risk family members they have to take care of. Even simple things such as getting necessities is now more challenging due to reduced hours. Employers should try to make this lockdown as easy as possible for their employees by understanding that things may come up. Be compassionate about things that may pop up during the workday, such as dogs barking in the background or kids running around. Right now, everyone is just trying to do their best.


Arrange Employee Bonding

Employees may be feeling isolated and disconnected from their co-workers after not being in the same workspace as them. It can be hard to connect virtually, especially when everyone is dealing with their own challenges. As an employer, you should step up and try to arrange some activities to encourage employee bonding and just bring a little fun to their lives. Consider hosting virtual social events such as catch-up coffees or trivia nights.


If you are looking for more HR tips or need help with hiring quality candidates, contact Nova Staffing today! Our team of employment experts is ready to help you with all of your staffing needs.


How an Employment Agency Can Help Your Business Grow

There are many factors that make a business successful, from revenue to marketing, but one of the most essential elements is the people who work there. The human factor is often overshadowed, but the people who work for the company make it what it is. Employees are a business’s greatest asset, and hiring the right workers is essential to growth.


People is what employment agencies like Nova Staffing specialize in. Here are a few ways a hiring agency can support your company’s expansion.


Finding & Hiring the Right People

A company is only as good as the people that work for it. That’s why it’s critical to invest in the recruiting and hiring process. A good employment agency knows how to find quality candidates that will thrive in the role and bring value to your business. Nova Staffing has over 20 years as a hiring agency finding the best people for our client’s staffing needs. From experience to personality, we know what to look for in potential employees to help your company grow.


Eliminating Employee Turnover

Employee turnover can eat into a business’ time and money. Replacing an individual employee can cost your company one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary, not to mention the time it takes to recruit and train a replacement. That’s why retaining talent is so important to expanding your company. The right employment agency will find employees that will fulfill open positions and stay there!


Planning for Growth

By actively anticipating future growth, an employment agency can help you create a strategy to recruit top talent in a timely manner. When companies expand too quickly or without a hiring plan in place, they can be left with open positions resulting in loss of money or productivity. An employment agency can help your business craft a hiring plan so that your company doesn’t suffer from under-employment.


Improve Hiring Process

Many companies make the mistake of not thinking about their hiring process. How you recruit employees will make a significant impact on the type of employees you attract. A frustrating or confusing hiring process can result in quality candidates dropping out or seeking employment elsewhere. At Nova Staffing, we have refined our hiring process in our 20 years of operation to make it as smooth and pleasant as possible for both employers and employees, making it easy for us to find the best workers to fulfill staffing needs.


Invite Feedback

Feedback is always an essential part of growth, and employees are a great source of ideas. Employees don’t always feel comfortable providing assessments directly to a company, though. An employment agency is a third party that can solicit feedback from potential, current, and previous employees that your business can use to improve and grow.


Are you looking for staffing solutions to help your business successfully expand? Contact Nova Staffing today! Our team of HR experts has over 200 years of combined industry experience and is ready to help your company grow.


How Nova Staffing is Protecting Workers During COVID-19

The on-going COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact daily life in Ontario. While many businesses were able to transition to remote working, there are still a number of essential businesses that require employees to be there in person. As one of the best staffing agencies in the GTA, Nova Staffing prides itself on having all the highest health and safety measures for all employees. Here are the steps we’re taking to keep our employees and the workers we send out to clients safe.


Pre-Screening Questionnaire

Before sending out workers to our clients, we make sure to pre-screen them and ask them a list of questions provided by the Ministry of Health. This includes asking them if they’ve traveled recently, whether they have any symptoms, or if they’ve been exposed to anyone that has tested positive, been exposed, or showing symptoms. This ensures that we’re not sending out anyone who may be a COVID-19 risk.


Daily Forms

In order to protect the public and essential workplaces, Nova Staffing requires all of our workers to fill out and sign a form each day before starting work. These forms ask employees to sign stating they will adhere to all safety practices, including COVID-19 prevention efforts at client sites.


These forms include a daily screening sheet, which employees must sign off on before each shift stating whether or not they’ve been experiencing symptoms or been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. This allows us and health officials to trace individuals who may be exposed or infected.


Health Monitors

At Nova Staffing offices and large clients, health monitors are in place to take staff temperatures daily before each shift. This helps screen employees every day before they enter the workplace in addition to the forms. All of our clients, and our own offices, have also heightened cleaning and set up sanitization stations in order to reduce the spread of the virus.


Our Commitment to Health and Safety

At Nova Staffing, keeping our employees, clients, and the public safe and healthy is our top priority. We have exceeded legislated COVID-19 requirements set forth by the Ministry of Health and will continue to do so while the pandemic is on-going.


We’re confident in sending our employees out to client sites, knowing that the employers we partner with are taking health and safety as seriously as we do. Nova Staffing continuously monitors COVID-19 information and makes changes as needed. We strongly encourage our employees to follow all public health recommendations when they are in the community to protect their health and prevent the spread of COVID-19.


If you are interested in learning more about how we can help ensure you have the right people and safety measures in place for your company, please reach out to us for more information:


5 Ways to Support Employees’ Mental Health

It’s safe to say the past year has been a struggle for just about everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic hit businesses and employees hard, both professionally and personally. It’s no surprise then that a recent study found that 42% of global employees have experienced a decline in mental health since the pandemic began, not to mention seasonal winter blues. So, what can employers and managers do to check-in and support their teams during these trying times? Here are a few suggestions from our HR experts at Nova Staffing.


Be Vulnerable

One silver lining to the pandemic is that everyone has been hit, and it has normalized mental health challenges. Almost everyone has experienced some level of discomfort. Business owners and managers should start the mental health conversation and decrease the stigma by opening up about their own struggles. You don’t have to tell more than you’re comfortable, but letting employees know that those higher up have been struggling as well will let them feel more comfortable coming to you with their challenges.


Model Healthy Habits

A lot of companies say they support mental health, but very few actually model it. It’s one thing to tell employees to prioritize self-care and set boundaries, and it’s another for businesses to do it themselves. Share that you’re taking a staycation or a mid-afternoon walk. This will help employees feel more comfortable taking much-needed breaks themselves.


Check-In Regularly

Intentionally checking in with each of your employees is more important than ever. Now that many people are working from home, it can be harder to notice if someone is struggling. Make it a point to ask your employees if they’re doing OK. During these times, communicate more than you think you need to.


Be Flexible

This pandemic has shown that businesses that are flexible are the ones to survive. Being adaptable and flexible is key to managing stressful situations that may pop up, like a global pandemic! Employers should be open to the fact that employees are facing unprecedented challenges. Virtual learning or closed schools mean many working parents don’t have childcare. Health concerns may limit certain employees from coming in. Not all employees may have a quiet, dedicated workspace to operate from. Being flexible and accommodating will help alleviate stress for your employees and allow you to come together to find solutions.


Modify Procedures and Policies

Now is the time to update practices and policies to be more flexible and reflect the realities of the workplace today. Look at things such as work hours, communication practices, sick leave policies, and performance reviews. The ‘normal’ work environment doesn’t exist right now, so traditional procedures no longer fit.


Need help finding qualified candidates or other staffing solutions? Contact Nova Staffing today! With over 200 years of industry experience, our team of HR experts is ready to help. 


How Ontario’s Second Lockdown Will Impact Employment

Ontario has recently once again moved into lockdown to help stop the spread of COVID-19. While Toronto has seen some level of restrictions since the virus first hit the city, this will be a major blow for other parts of the province that have seen more freedom. One of the big questions employment agencies have been getting is how the second lockdown will impact employment and hiring. Here are a few things companies should get ready for.


More Remote Working

Get ready to see remote working reach new levels. One of the biggest things coming with the latest lockdown is that all non-essential employees who do not need to be in the workspace physically will now be required to work from home. That means employers who have adopted a hybrid work-from-home model or asked employees to return to offices will now have to embrace remote working again.


Back to Virtual Schooling

Working parents that chose to send their kids back to physical school will now have to get ready for virtual schooling once again. Employers should support parents during this time and try to understand that working parents now have to be employees, parents, and teachers. It’s a lot for anyone! Try to be more flexible with work hours and understanding if an issue arises.


Safety Plans

While remote working will increase once again with the lockdown, not all businesses will be impacted. There are still a number of industries, such as transportation, essential workers, and more, that will still have to go in. Ontario is requiring all businesses that are still open and operating to prepare a COVID-19 safety plan. Companies that are remote working should also take this time to come up with a safety plan for when employees do return again. Now is also a good time to evaluate sick day policies in light of the virus.


Final Thoughts

It’s still too early to know how the second lockdown will impact employment growth in the province. As with the first round of restrictions, certain industries will be hit harder than others. Employers should do everything they can to support employees during this time in order to boost efficiency and morale.


If you need help fulfilling job positions with quality candidates, contact us today! Nova Staffing is one of Toronto’s best employment agencies and has a team of HR experts ready to help you with all of your staffing needs.