A guide to what are soft skills, why they matter, and how to identify a candidate that is the right fit for your business. Also, we provide 100 Top Soft Skills Assessment and Interview Questions that will help identify top talent. Below is a link to a free download guide on unique interview questions you should be asking your potential candidates.
WHAT ARE SOFT SKILLS?
Soft skills are a combination of skills that enable people to navigate the work environment. Collins English Dictionary defines the soft skills as "desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge." Examples of soft skills are people skills, social skills, communication, decision-making, collaboration, teamwork, time management, personality traits, attitudes, creativity, national intelligence, common sense, ability to deal with people, and more. These traits are harder to quantify and identify because they are not technical skills like hard skills, which can be easily tested or identified through professional experience, specialized training, or academic qualifications.
Soft skills are harder to screen because there are no right or wrong answers to the interview questions. Also, multiple influences can affect the results when attempting to identify soft skills, especially if your hiring process has various phases. Therefore, it is vital to locate consistency in demeanor, attitude, reply, and other traits.
WHY SOFT SKILLS MATTER?
Soft skills are essential because they are the core of who your employee is. They shape who they are and how they navigate in the workplace. It is a key identifying factor on whether or not they are a good fit for your business. They are the skills that will impact performance and your clients. Workers that communicate effectively will increase productivity levels and motivate co-workers to perform better. Employees with excellent soft skills will help build and develop a positive company culture that is diverse and strong improving decrease turnover rate and influencing the level of employee satisfaction.
HOW TO SCREEN CANDIDATE'S SOFT SKILLS?
There are three ways to screen candidate's soft skills: (1) the interview, (2) assessment tests, and (3) 90-day post-hire trial period. Each business will decide which method works best. Harvard Business Review suggests to "First Test, and Then Interview." Another well-known practice is when companies will first conduct a phone interview after reviewing a qualified candidate's resume, and before hosting the first in-person or video interview. Assessment tests might follow after the in-person interview. For government positions, it usually takes a long series of assessments and evaluations to determine which candidate should come in for an in-person interview.
What is the best interview process? It is the one that helps you identify qualified candidates for your business positively influencing the turnover rate. In other words, there is one process that will work best for your business, but you must identify which practice will work best. For more insight, click on the link below for steps and tips on how to improve your hiring process.
TOP 100 SOFT SKILLS ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CANDIDATE
These questions can be asked during the pre-screening test or an in-person interview or a video conference. Our list includes over 114 questions.
Do you like change?
Have you ever made the decision to change careers?
Do you like to be in control? Please elaborate.
Do you like the unexpected?
Do you like routine work?
How did you solve a problem that you didn't have all the information?
How do you weight pros and cons when making a decision?
What analytical strategy have you implemented through your work?
How would you rearrange this room?
Let's say your best friend worked here, and you forgot it was their birthday. You have only ten minutes to came up with a cake and a birthday card. What would you do?
How do you encourage yourself and your team members to be more creative and innovative?
Could you please give me an example of your most creative idea, or a creative idea that your admired?
Tell me about yourself.
How would you sell me this pen?
Do you prefer written or verbal communication?
Which is more important to you: a good listener or a good communicator?
Explain to me why you would be a good fit for this position.
Compassion (Instead of Confidence)
If you project fails. How do you handle it?
Have you ever found yourself doing a task that you were the only one that believed in yourself? What kept you going?
What is more important to you: confidence or self-esteem?
Why is compassion important in the workplace?
How could compassion change work culture?
What steps would you take to resolve a heated conflict between two co-workers?
Have you successfully resolved a conflict? How?
How do you handle differences in opinion within the workplace?
How would you calm a colleague if they were angry?
If you see a co-worker that becomes aggressive in the workplace, what do you do?
If you identify characteristics in a co-worker that could be harmful for them and others, what would you do?
What environment do you feel the most productive in? What do you need to get your work flowing?
What would influence you to leave your a position?
What is your ideal company culture?
What aspect of a company's culture turned out to be fake after you started working?
Have you ever worked in the complaint department or had to handle a complaint? What did you do?
What steps would you take to gain a customer's trust?
If you notice a customer is unsatisfied with the results of their request, what do you do?
How would you encourage co-workers to improve their customer service skills?
What ideas do you have to improve customer service skills?
How would you deal with a customer that made unreasonable requests?
How would you handle a situation when a customer is being rude towards you?
What would you do if a customer is yelling at you?
Could you give me an example of you were under pressure? How did you handle it?
Do you like the responsibility of decision-making?
What is a tough decision you've had to make at work? How did you make the decision?
What do you find are the most complex decisions in the workplace?
What decision did you see take place at your company you previously worked for that could have been handled differently?
If you are working alone on a project, how do you stay motivated?
If you are given a job task that does not interest you, how do you stay engaged?
Are you passionate about your career?
How to deal with co-workers that hate their job?
What are your expectations for this role?
What are your expectations to working for this organization?
How will you handle co-workers that don't welcome you onto the team?
What is your definition of constructive criticism?
How do you respond to a co-worker that consistently gives you negative feedback?
How would you handle feedback from a manager that negatively impacts you?
How would you give feedback to an employee that is working incorrectly?
How would you deliver constructive criticism?
How do you handle stress?
What activities help remove stress from your work-life?
What helps you de-stress at work?
What are good ways to prevent stressful situations from happening at work?
What work scenario stresses you out?
Have you ever felt like you were not qualified for a job?
What would you do if a co-worker pressures you into doing something that is unethical?
Have you ever been honest to a point that you found yourself in a difficult situation?
Have you were been in a situation at work that you felt like you were the only honest person in the room? How did you handle it?
What are key ingredients to building good relationships with others?
How did you handle working with someone you did not like?
How would you communicate a difficult message to your team?
How would you communicate a difficult message to your direct supervisor?
How would you handle a situation with a co-worker that is jeopardizing your career goals?
What do you do when your co-workers are quitting the job?
What do you do when your direct supervisor tells you to complete a task that goes against your values?
What are your expectations for this organization?
Is career growth important to you? If so, why?
Do you see yourself as a leader? In what type of role, do you see your ideal self?
Would you want to one day become a CEO of a company?
What ideas do you have to improve leadership?
What leadership characteristics do you believe your direct supervisor lacked?
What ideas do you have on improving company management style? (It can be based on any company you worked for or have heard about.)
Let's say you really need the time off for a specific week, but your direct supervisor mentioned that they needed you at work during the same week. How would you negotiate?
What is the most effective technique to win someone over during a negotiation?
How would you change an institutional process that is hindering the growth of the organization?
How would you negotiation with a co-worker?
How do you like your desk to be organized?
How do you track your progress on projects?
How do you like to file your documents?
How do you handle working on multiple projects?
What was one of the most challenging problems you ever had to solve at work?
Could you share with me a time in which you found yourself having to identify a solution to a major problem?
Can you identify when certain decisions would lead to a major problem?
What is the definition of a problem to you?
What steps would you take to avoid a problem?
What is your understanding of strategic planning? What is strategic planning different from regular planning?
Do you prefer long-term goals or short-term goals?
Do you make plans? Or do you prefer to just see how the day will turn out?
How would you plan a large project? How would you execute it?
Do you value team activities?
What would you do if your co-workers are not getting along?
What would you do if you disagree with the course of action of a team member or team leader?
What would you do if you knew you idea could prevent a massive mistake from happening?
How would you deal with a teammate that does not want to assist you or hinders your work?
Do you work better by yourself or as a team? We wouldn't recommend this question especially if your company culture emphasizes teamwork. Therefore, we would rephrase this question to ask, Do you work more efficiently by yourself or when you have someone along side you sharing the workload?