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10 Interview Questions to Evaluate Soft Skills

More than half of hiring managers agree that having to evaluate soft skills during applicant screening is one of the toughest tasks in the selection process. You need to determine if the candidate has specific personality traits, and that is not always easy. This is where behavioral questions come in. These provide insight into the candidate’s past actions to reveal how they’ll perform in the new role. Just keep in mind that there are some skills that are easier to identify than others. It is your responsibility to ensure that you receive satisfactory answers.

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Top Interview Questions to Evaluate Soft Skills

Essentially, you should focus on two areas: self-awareness and intuition. Self-awareness helps determine if the candidate can make a connection between his or her actions and the outcome in the professional environment. Intuition is all about investigating the empathy and teamwork traits in an individual. Here are 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, and what did you learn?

This question is meant to test the adaptability of the candidate. An applicant who demonstrates this trait can help the company grow. Such a candidate will stay calm under pressure and is willing to try out new tools and techniques when executing his or her duties. They are also likely to come up with effective solutions when problems arise. They’ll quickly accept new team members and adapt to different working styles when required.

2. What are the three most important aspects of a job, in your opinion?

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 employees who can easily fit well will increase the chances of success. We recommend that you give a brief overview of the company and what you do before you begin the interview process. (This can be done via effective job postings.)

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 tests the collaboration trait. It is important that you assess the candidate’s ability to work well with others. The modern work environment places a lot of emphasis on teams to get work done together. The candidates that you interview must prove 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 soft-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 helps evaluate soft skills such as the leadership qualities of the candidate. Keep in mind that leadership is not all about managing others. It’s also about being a strong example to other people in the organization. You want to hire an applicant 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 with solutions. You should also check for other soft skills, like communication, when testing the leadership trait.

Two men in an interview5. How did you handle an urgent problem when your supervisor or manager was away?

It’s important to estimate the growth potential of the candidate. This question helps gauge whether or not the candidate is able to step up and make some important decisions, when necessary. 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 organizational setting.

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

Ask this question when you’d like to examine the candidate’s prioritization ability. It can also be used in determining their time management skills when faced with a 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 avoid distractions.

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

This question is particularly revealing when it comes to measuring the candidate’s level of problem-solving abilities and perseverance. These two traits are important in any professional setting. There will always be challenges in any professional setting, and a potential candidate should be honest enough to explain how he or she overcame 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 if they can’t communicate effectively. 

9. What does constructive criticism mean to you?

Ask this question when you want to gauge how the potential hire processes and handles feedback. There are people who don’t like to be criticized. The answers you get could be a reflection of how they’ll respond to constructive criticism 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 is beneficial to a company in so many ways. It is crucial to evaluate soft skills, such as honesty, closely since many points of their experience or capabilities stem from whether or not they tell the truth. Recruiters tend to prefer frankness and honesty in their new employees. Honest employees are typically hard workers and give their all when executing their duties in the organization. An honest employee also acknowledges his or her limitations and always strives to improve.

Instantly Reveal Which Applicants Have the Ideal Soft Skills

The Sprockets platformTrying to identify who has the right soft skills is difficult and time-consuming. Rather than attempting to do this on your own, let Sprockets show you which applicants are the ideal fit for your business! Our AI-powered platform uses personality assessments and a sophisticated applicant matching system to reveal who will perform like your top employees and stay long-term. It enables you to build more cohesive teams, improve employee retention, and reduce the costs associated with turnover. In fact, Sprockets users improve retention by an average of 43%!

Schedule a brief demo today to start hiring the best applicants and reducing costly turnover.


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