When asked, managers all seem to agree that soft skills are essential for successful employees. But what are soft skills, and how do you know if your candidates have the right ones? Soft skills are those intangible personality traits that can be hard to put into words. They’re things like communication style, ability to organize, and adaptable personality. But how do you ask questions in an interview to determine if the person’s soft skills are a match for your company and the open position. Here are 12 questions for the most popular soft skills employers want.
Tell me about a time when you learned to do something new on the fly.
Not everyone has skills in every little thing. What is essential is that they can adapt and learn when necessary.
Tell me about a time when you needed to change direction with little warning.
You also want to know that they can shift their priorities without a lot of stress when the situation calls for it.
What values are you looking for in a company?
You want to hire someone who has matching core values to your organization. If they don’t, it will be like fitting a square peg into a round hole.
What kind of manager do you like working with?
You also want to see the kind of management style that works best for them. Maybe they want a hands-off approach, or perhaps they like a lot of feedback.
Tell me about a time when you had to work with people you didn’t know.
The thing about working in a company is you’ll have to work with people you may not know or be comfortable around. You want to know how they handle that.
How do you handle working with a coworker you dislike?
Along with working with those who you might not know, an employee may need to work with people they don’t like. They don’t always have to get along, but they need to work it out.
Tell me about a time when you had to take the reins on a project.
Is the employee a self-starter willing to take charge when necessary but also know how to delegate tasks along the way.
Tell me about a time when something didn’t work out as you expected.
Sometimes we learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. A good leader will be able to take these lessons and grow.
What kinds of books do you like to read?
There is no one right answer here. You want to see that they’re willing to get information from a variety of sources.
Tell me about something you’ve recently learned.
You also want to see that they’re willing to grow in their education, whether that’s self-directed or through formal processes.
How do you organize your time around multiple projects?
In spite of our culture, the human brain is not designed for multitasking. What you want to know is how they prioritize tasks.
What strategies do you use to manage your time?
As with books, there isn’t a right answer here. There are just some tools or techniques that are more compatible with your workplace than others.
Do you need help screening applicants for the right fit?
CornerStone Staffing has 11 offices in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is the leading expert in screening and placing qualified professional talent in Texas.