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Assess Soft Skills with Interview Questions

When you think of the perfect employee, what traits come to mind? Soft skills including being personable and hardworking or hard/technical skills like data entry and phone skills? Most managers would say that their top-performers have a mix of both soft and hard skills that match the department that they’re in. Taking time to assess soft skills, in-person and with predictive hiring tools, during the hiring process is crucial.

However, taking time to assess soft skills can difficult when you only have a brief interview. In fact, over 60% of hiring managers agree that screening for soft skills is tough and 92% rated soft skills as a critical priority. Below are a few tried and true interview questions for measuring the most prevalent soft skills.


Whether you are hiring a software developer or a sales representative, communication is essential to thriving in any company culture. While a software developer may mainly work alone, they must be able to communicate with clients effectively and internally communicate deadlines and information needed for each project to be successful.

  • Tell me about a time you needed to get information from someone who wasn’t very responsive. What did you do?

  • Can you walk me through your process of explaining a new topic to someone who is unfamiliar with it?


Being a team player is important in having a collaborative work environment and a team that gets along well. If you have a majority of employees with positive attitudes and one person with a negative outlook, it can bring the whole team down. Assessing social skills without the future team in the room is difficult. Use these questions to assess if the candidate will be a good match.

  • Do you enjoy working on a team or on your own? Why?

  • How would you react if a team leader encouraged competition between team members instead of collaboration?

  • Can you tell me about a time when you had to work with someone you were not compatible with?


Whether you are hiring for a managerial position or an entry-level position, it can be beneficial to assess whether someone is capable of being a successful leader down the line in their initial job interviews. This includes having people skills and certain personality traits that make up good leaders.

  • Can you tell me about a time when you successfully led a group through a difficult situation?

  • Describe a time you were able to improve the performance of a team or team member?

Critical Thinking

Problem solving by using critical thinking skills is something that is developed since elementary school. However, some people have better critical thinking skills than others – and simply enjoy it more. 

  • Tell me about a time when you were asked to do something you had never done before. How did you approach it and what did you learn?

  • Tell me about a time you had to make a decision with incomplete information or your manager was not available.


From time management skills to prioritizing a busy, hectic schedule, being able to adapt to different circumstances is essential in today’s busy world. Not only do candidates need to be adaptable under different working styles, but also adaptable in terms of being resilient when a project or idea does not go their way. Adaptability can be a difficult soft skill to assess in-person. Predictive hiring systems can help by revealing a person’s mental makeup compared to that of top performers.

  • Tell us about a time when things didn’t go the way you wanted— like a promotion you wanted and didn’t get, or a project that didn’t turn out how you had hoped.

  • Tell me about your last project. What worked and what didn’t work well?

Culture Fit

Does your office boast a glass door policy, an air-hockey table, or unlimited PTO or cubicles, structured retirement plans, and professional development opportunities? Each culture is the right fit for a certain candidate. Finding the candidate that matches your company culture is important for employee engagement, productivity, and retention.

  • Describe a time when you took a risk for the sale of a principle, value or mission?

  • In what type of work environment are you most productive and happy?

  • What management style do you thrive with?

While assessing soft skills can be difficult, Sprockets’ predictive hiring solution helps. With the combination of psycholinguistics and artificial intelligence, Sprockets is able to analyze the mental makeup of candidates — before you even meet them. Sign up for a free account today.

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