10 Interview Questions to Evaluate Soft Skills

More than half of hiring managers all agree that having to evaluate soft skills during applicant screening has to be one of the toughest exercises in the whole selection process. You need to figure out if the candidate has the qualities that you’re looking for during the interview process and it is not always easy. This is where behavioral questions come in. Looking at the candidate’s past behavior can be an indicator of what you can expect from them in their new role. There are some skills that are going to be easier to screen than others. It is your role as a hiring manager to ensure that the answers you’re getting are satisfactory.

There is no magic bullet when it comes to execution of the tips. Essentially, you should be focusing on two areas: self-awareness and intuition. Self-awareness should help in determining if the candidate can make a connection between his or her actions and the outcome in the professional environment. Intuition is all about about investigating the empathy and teamwork traits in an individual. Here is a roundup of some of the questions that are recommended by experts when interviewing to evaluate soft skills.

 

1. Tell us about something you were asked to do that you have never done before. How did you react, what did you learn?

This question is meant to test the adaptability of the candidate. A candidate who can demonstrate to have the trait of adaptability can help the company grow. Such a candidate will stay calm under pressure and is always willing to try out new tools and techniques when executing his or duties. Such a person is also likely to come up with solutions when problems arise. They will quickly accept new team members are and are not stiff in adapting to the new working styles when required to do so.

 

2. What are the three most important things to you in a job?

Ideally, you want a candidate who can easily fit in your company’s culture. The culture is a reflection of the company’s core values and mission. It should be noted that there is no right or wrong culture in a company. Hiring the employees that can easily fit well will increase the chances of succeeding if you’ve got the right talent in place. Looking for an employee who is a fit with the culture doesn’t mean you have to discriminate. It is always recommended that you give a brief overview of the company and what you do before you begin the interview process.

 

3. Can you give us an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult? How did you handle the situation?

The question is meant to test the collaboration aspect. It is important that you assess the candidate’s ability when it comes to working with others. The modern work environment puts a lot of emphasis on teams to get work done. The candidates that you’re interviewing need to exhibit that they can work with other people in the company. Even if it is a technical job, the ability to interact and communicate is crucial in getting the job done on time. This is one of the skills interview questions that shouldn’t be skipped.

 

4. Have you ever been in a situation when everything did not go according to plan? How did you react and what was the outcome?

This question helps in evaluating soft skills such as the leadership qualities of the candidate. Leadership is not all about managing others but also being a strong example to other people in the organization. You want to hire a candidate who can demonstrate the ability to look after and inspire their colleagues. Mistakes are bound to happen in any work environment and you want someone who is proactive in approach. You should be checking for soft skills such as communication when testing the leadership trait.

 

5. How did you handle an urgent problem when your supervisor or manager was away?

This question is all about measuring the growth potential of the candidate. It is asked in order to gauge if the candidate is able to step up when called upon to make some important decisions. A good employee will know what to do when faced with such a challenge. You also want to get their perspective when it comes to being proactive in an organization setting.

 

6. Tell us when you had to juggle several projects at a time. How did you handle the situation?

This is a question you ask when you are examining the candidate’s prioritization ability. It can also be used in determining their time management skills when faced with a different set of tasks. The person you’re hiring should be able to organize the workload in a matter that is efficient and follows the deadline. An employee with good prioritization skills should be able to effectively manage the workload, meet deadlines, adapt to pressure, deal with work-related stress, and manage time properly by avoiding distractions.

 

7. Can you tell us about a time you were faced with a challenge that you had never experienced before?

This question is asked to gauge the candidate’s problem-solving skills. The question can be revealing, particularly when it comes to measuring the candidate’s level of problem-solving abilities and perseverance. These two traits are important in any professional setting. Any person who claims to have gone through their career without any obstacles will be lying. There will always be challenges in any professional setting. A potential candidate should be honest enough and explain how he or she did overcome the problem.

 

8. How would you explain a complex topic to a new customer or a colleague?

The purpose of this question is to test the candidate’s communication skills. Communication is one of the crucial soft skills that a candidate should have. The person might be good when it comes to the job but it won’t help the organization when they can’t communicate effectively. While there are other questions which could be used to gauge the communication skills of an individual, this one is meant to measure the effectiveness.

 

9. What does constructive criticism mean to you?

 This question is asked when you want to gauge how the potential hires processes and handles feedback. There are people who don’t like to be criticized. The answers you get could be a reflection of the kind of person you should expect. Constructive criticism is done to point out the areas where one could improve.

 

10. Have you ever been in a situation where being honest landed you in trouble?

Having an honest employee can be beneficial to a company in so many ways. You don’t have to be worried about someone stealing resources or not being honest about their work.  It is crucial to evaluate soft skills such as honestly closely, since many points of their experience or capabilities stem from if they are telling the truth or not! Recent studies have shown that recruiters tend to prefer frankness and honesty in their new employees. Honest employees tend to be hard workers and give their all when executing their duties in the organization. An honest employee acknowledges his her limitations and strives to improve as a result. 

To sum it up, the soft skills interview will give the recruiter a wholesome perspective on what to expect from the candidate. There are situations where it will be difficult to pick a candidate when it comes to technical abilities. Since all of them are highly qualified, it is important to pick someone who can easily fit into the company’s culture. They should be adaptable and proactive when it comes to solving problems within the organization. As a recruiting manager, it is your job to ensure that the company is getting the right talent.

Plus, check out When To Prioritize Soft Skills Over Experience for more information on soft skills in the interview process.