People in a business meeting

Assess Soft Skills with Interview Questions

Assess Soft Skills with Interview Questions 1430 936 Sprockets

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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A Positive Candidate Experience is Key in Hiring Quickly and Efficiently

A Positive Candidate Experience is Key in Hiring Quickly and Efficiently 150 150 Sprockets

Many companies miss the most important part of the hiring process – the positive candidate experience.

A 2018 report by Human Capital Institute backs this with some staggering statistics:

  • 60% of job seekers reported a negative experience with employers

  • 72% of job seekers reported posting a negative review online regarding their experience with the employer.

  • 55% of job seekers report avoiding certain companies after reading negative reviews online.

Your company brand and hiring process could be scaring away your best employees before they even apply! Thankfully, there are some simple ways to turn this around. From predictive hiring systems to simplifying the process, these strategies are proven to help. For more information on executing a great candidate experience, check out this blog.

1. Research your company as a candidate.

Simple as that. Start a job search for a current opening in your company. Take note of how easy it is to find your openings. Read reviews from employees/candidates about your company and your process. Take a look at your company website and career page to ensure they are attractive, informative, and inclusive.

2. Communicate.

Keep candidates informed of where they are in the process. A personal email thanking them for their application is ideal. This can be done manually or setup as an automatic notification in most applicant tracking systems. Don’t leave candidates guessing the next steps. If a candidate is brought in for an interview, provide a timeline of when a decision is expected to be made and if a position is closed, make sure all candidates who applied are notified.

3. Simplify your application process.

Complete an application to get an idea of how long the process takes. According to a study done by Paycor, applications that take over ten minutes to complete, businesses can experience a 50% drop off rate! Make your application short and to the point. Include other options for completion, such as resume parsing, mobile-friendly, and remove the need for accounts to complete an application.

4. Review your job descriptions.

Your job description is the candidates peek into a day working for your company. Make it informative, appealing, and personable. Ensure the requirements you are listing match the actual position. Many companies lose out on great candidates by requiring years of experience for an entry level role.

Push out a campaign to have employees complete reviews on popular boards such as Indeed and Glassdoor. If possible, implement an employee referral program. Employees will have a better insight to the day to day of the company and if they are compensated, are more likely to refer quality candidates.

Turning around your candidate experience will take some time on your part, but the result will be quality candidates genuinely interested in working for your company!

Learn how Sprockets’ predictive hiring solution for small businesses can help your company.

Two people discussing how to assess candidates before interviewing

3 Tips to Assess Candidates Before Interviewing

3 Tips to Assess Candidates Before Interviewing 2048 1302 Sprockets

The benefits of assessing a candidate’s skills before bringing them into an interview are absolutely endless. This process is often called a screening interview. While it is not an actual face-to-face interaction, the screening interview is the process of getting to know someone. This is done before meeting up with them and can have an impact on hiring decisions. Think of it kind of like researching a person before a blind date. No one wants to go into an interview—or a date—completely blind.

One of the many benefits of doing a little research is that you’ll be able to tailor your job interview questions. Tailored questions allow getting to know the candidate. Human connection cannot be manufactured, but it can be tailored. Knowing your candidate’s skills before going into the interview room gives you and your interviewee plenty to talk about in your meeting. No awkward silences here.

So what are some ways that leaders get to know their interview candidates before they actually speak in any capacity?

It sure isn’t through a resume.

While resumes are still a reasonable tool in their own right, resumes can be easily doctored to look impressive without saying a single word about who your candidate actually is. Hard and soft skill mastery is important. There is no way around that. However, just because a resume lists a manifest of duties and applications of those skills does not mean the employee actually completed those tasks masterfully. This is why assessing candidates is so important.

Cover letters attempted to rectify this conundrum. Yet cover letters are honestly just longer resumes. While they do expand on the skills and experiences listed, cover letters are so stock and tailored toward a stiff professionalism that employers do not get to see the person behind the experience. This raises red flags. There is no such thing as a perfect person, so why does this person seem flawless? Something does not add up.

For this reason, more and more hiring managers are moving away from resumes simply listing work experience to alternative methods of pre-interview screening. Try using these three tips in your recruiting and hiring process to find the right person for the job.

1. The Skills Test

If you are a traditionalist—or just a designer who loves to see what cool formats people create for their resumes—you can still have your potential candidates upload a resume to your application form. While we gave resumes a bit of a bad rap a second ago, resumes do make good complementary tools when used with other methods of assessment. We simply do not believe they should stand alone.

Have your candidates upload a resume with your application and use it as a quick check against your skill test data. If the data matches with the resume, congratulations, you might have a good candidate. However, if the candidate just squeaked by on the skills test and they claim they have excellent whatever skills, you might want to reconsider their integrity. Sometimes people underperform on skills tests due to an off day, but more likely than not, this inconsistency heralds a deeper character issue that you do not want affecting your company and won’t be a good cultural fit.

In that case, a resume can be a very helpful reference for further understanding of your skills test data.

Whether your industry is health insurance or mass producing tea cozies from your exploding Etsy shop, your employees are going to need a certain set of skills to help you grow your business into its next successful season. An automated skills test assesses candidates on the practical skills for the job.

Interviewers have used games, math puzzles, industry-specific questions, and other means to determine how candidates apply their skills. There are different matrices for generating data from these tests. Percentages are the most common for multiple choice answers.

Most employers have a minimum passing score in their tests to ensure only the best candidates get through. Oftentimes this percentage sits at 60%, but this is really subjective in nature. The passing rate for your candidates should correlate directly to how specific your job opportunity is.

2. The Personality Test

In addition to implementing a hard skills test to assess candidates, employers also like to have their potential interviewees take a personality test of some sort. Personality tests allow candidates to demonstrate subliminal personality traits—positive or negative traits of which they might not be aware—to give employers a better idea of the individual behind the skills.

Personality tests can be administered in many forms, and their data is very telling. While personality tests do not have any right or wrong answers, the way candidates answer certain team, or philosophy related, questions will give you a good idea of if they’ll fit into your company culture. Even more though, if the test you give them is in a game format and you are looking to see how well they work as a team, you will be looking to assess their scenario reaction more so than their overall success. Do they win the game because they do it all solo? Do they try to help their teammates overcome obstacles? Are they creative in collaboration? Do they rage quit when things heat up?

Newer predictive hiring solutions like Sprockets offer a way to easily assess candidates. We help companies decide who to hire based on their cultural and intellectual fit. Try us today for free! Check out this blog post on how pre-employment assessments lead to a positive, long-lasting relationship with candidates and employees.

While personality tests are never meant to be stand-alone qualifiers for a person’s ability to do a job, they do have many tells within their questions to let you know who is most apt to fit into your team.

3. Know Your Ideal Candidate

Our last piece of advice is to know your ideal candidate. Before you sit down to create your screening requirements for the open position, you need to assess just exactly what you are looking for. What position are you trying to fill? Why? Can you consolidate another position into this one? If so, do you even need to hire?

  • What qualities are you looking for?
  • Which skillset does the position require?
  • What would be a deal-breaker on a candidate for your company?
  • Why does your company need this candidate?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you narrow down what to look for in interviews. This will allow you to tailor your questions and personality test to exactly what you are looking for.

The ideal candidate is going to know their stuff, be personable, and bring your company growth. Being specific, but flexible, on your pre-screening process will allow you the opportunity to see a diverse group of people.


Open-mindedly approaching the results of the tests is the key to finding the best job candidate. Sometimes, personality tests can lead business owners to think there is only one type of person who can fill a position in their work environment. However, using the personality test as a guide to understanding a person’s thought processes is much more effective than using it as a blanket identity. A person’s personality is forged through experience, and all habits—including weaknesses—can be strengthened with coaching, patience, and practice.

When you take the time to assess candidates, your fourth-quarter earnings will thank you.

call center workers

How Pre-Hire Assessments Create a Long-lasting Positive Employee Experience

How Pre-Hire Assessments Create a Long-lasting Positive Employee Experience 460 385 Sprockets

The hiring process can be a long and tedious experience. However, with competition for talent heating up, there is little time to waste. Pre-hire assessments for candidates streamline the selection process and reduce employee turnover. Plus, make sure you give candidates a great experience with these helpful tips.

Challenges in recruitment lead to better data management

Advanced assessment technology makes it possible to hire people who have the best chance of success in a given role. This produces employees who are well-suited for their jobs and demonstrate high levels of employee engagement — a critical factor that influences performance and productivity.

How can an organization use candidate assessments to achieve the above results? It starts with creating a long-lasting positive employee experience.

The crossroads of efficient hiring and the candidate experience

From the moment a new candidate encounters your business, whether it’s through a job advertisement or some other branding effort, an impression is made. According to a Harris Poll and Glassdoor survey, 60% of job seekers have reported a negative experience with an employer. These first impressions are enduring, and can determine if an employee stays on long enough to become a valuable member of the team, or leave for greener pastures.

What are some of the negative experiences that candidates often report? Long recruitment processes, not getting frequent updates, and the perception of rude or discriminatory treatment during any part of the hiring process. Reducing employee turnover by eliminating these problems is something that all recruiters should be mindful of as they engage with each candidate.

Other factors are at play concerning the needs of recruitment professionals and the expectations of candidates. We know that interviews, while a vital part of the process, also fail to predict the success of new hires because they are based on past performance. LinkedIn revealed that 63% of hiring managers cannot accurately assess the soft skills of a candidate and 57% doubt their own ability to determine a candidate’s weaknesses.

Why leave things to chance?

The right candidate assessment tool has the potential to unlock a clear plan of action for recruiters, by using big data to select new hires. Pre-hire assessments provide deep insight into a candidate’s abilities, skills, values, and work style that an interview fails to shed light on. Using smart data gathering that relies on facts and not biased opinions about people is a far better indicator of success.

Recruiters can also improve the candidate experience by making it more personalized, while respecting their privacy. This is something that more candidates are expecting. The candidate assessment allows recruiters to learn more about a candidate before meeting with him or her, so that during any interviews, it’s not about the resume, it’s about the person’s goals and values.

Knowing these factors in advance helps recruiters make more accurate placements and it can also help build a talent pipeline. If the right job isn’t available now, candidates can rest assured knowing that the company has invested time in them and will be calling soon with a more suitable job offer.

Increasing employee engagement and professional development

In the long term, onboarding of employees can be designed around a customized plan for each new hire. The customized plan should be based on the data gathered during the pre-hire assessment. As an employee, any strengths revealed can determine the first tasks to be assigned. Any weaknesses that the assessment discovered can be used to develop training needs. Employees can self-assess to see their progress improve and this prepares them for advanced roles in the company. The goal is to give employees more control over their career growth. Assessments provide the data that proves they are ready for leadership roles.

There is power in data and candidate assessments help make sense of it all.