Table of Content
  1. How to Test a Candidate’s Soft Skills
    1. Communication
    2. Leadership
    3. Critical Thinking
    4. Work Ethics
    5. Teamwork
    6. Problem-Solving
    7. Creativity
    8. Analytical Skills
    9. Adaptability
  2. Conclusion

How to Test for Soft Skills in a Candidate Interview

Creating a team that will grow and develop your business can be a challenging task. You need to find a balance of practical experience, a good fit for your company culture, and the necessary soft skills in employees. But what are soft skills and why are they important to your business development?

Unlike technical skills, soft skills are not occupational skills such as coding or product design, but rather qualities that are a part of your character traits such as communication, problem solving, or teamwork. From increasing efficiency within your team to improving morale of your employees, soft skilled employees are a valuable part of improving your business.

How to Test a Candidate’s Soft Skills

Since soft skills are more apparent in scenario and situational settings, the best approach to test for soft skills is to use behavioral and situational questions. Behavioral interview questions ask about your past experience in dealing with a variety of different scenarios. This provides insight into how the candidate handles different situations and how they most likely will react in the future. Knowing how they handle situations shows us what soft skills they’re strong in and where they’re weaker in.

Behavioral questions are structured as such:

  • Could you tell me about a time when you…?
  • Please describe a situation when you…
  • Give me an example of how you approached a situation where…

You can tailor the above format based on the position and targeted soft skills.

Here are some popular soft skills that would be beneficial for your team:

Communication

Strong communication gets across ideas in a clear and concise manner. Someone with good communication skills can talk in clear and simple terms about complex ideas.

Sample Interview Questions:

  • Have you ever proposed an idea to your manager? How did you pitch the idea? Were you compelling? What was the outcome?
  • Can you tell me of a time you used written communication to impart important information? How did you perform the task? What was the outcome?

Leadership

Employees with strong leadership are self starters. A good leader not only initiates, but also encourages those around them to take actions they wouldn’t otherwise do.

Sample Interview Questions:

  • Have you ever led a team? What challenges did you face? What was the outcome?
  • Have you ever delegated a task to a coworker? How did you measure their progress? What was the result?

Critical Thinking

Good critical thinking is looking at an issue clearly and objectively in order to evaluate the matter. A good critical thinker does not passively react to others’ opinions, but can form their own judgement and asks the right questions at the right time.

Sample Interview Questions:

  • Can you give me an example of decision you’ve had to make with insufficient information? What was your response to the situation? How did you resolve it? What was the outcome?
  • Can you give me an example of a time you’ve had to persuade your manager to try a different method to solve a problem? How did you go about it? What was the outcome?

Work Ethics

Employees with good work ethic are dependable people that come through on their promises and know how to prioritize. They are responsible, timely, reliable, and with high integrity.

Sample Interview Questions:

  • What would be your most vital work ethic? Why is this the most important Work ethic?
  • Have you ever had a last minute project or tight deadline to achieve? How did you prioritize and handle that?

Teamwork

If you want your team to run like a well oiled machine, you will need employees with strong teamwork skills. Employees with great teamwork skills communicate regularly with other team members, make decisions that are the best for the team rather for themselves, and give constructive feedback to their co-workers.

Sample Interview Questions:

  • Can you tell me of a time where a team member disagreed with you? How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome?
  • Can you tell me of a project you worked on in a team? What were your responsibilities? How did you support your team?

Problem-Solving

Employees with strong problem-solving skills can structure problems, identify root cause of the issue, create a feasible action plan, and execute the plan with precision.

Sample Interview Questions:

  • Have you ever had to solve a problem when you haven’t had your manager or supervisor to ask. What approach did you take when tackling the issue? How did you solve the problem? What was the outcome? What would you do differently next time?
  • Can you tell me time you went above and beyond to resolve an issue? What did you do? What was the result?

Creativity

Creative employees provide unique and innovative ideas that give your business the competitive edge. They can suggest you how to improve an existing process, offer unconventional ideas, or see new opportunities that are blind to others.

Sample Interview Questions:

  • Can you give an example of a situation where you had an unique and different approach to solving a problem? Why was the unique approach better? What was the result?
  • Can you give me some examples of ideas you came up with that benefited your company? What was your brainstorming process?

Analytical Skills

Employees with strong analytical skills can quickly interpret data on hand to draw insightful conclusions. They not only build models and crunch numbers, but also have the ability to ask the right questions in order to generate insights that are previously undiscovered.

Sample Interview Questions:

  • Can you give me an example of a problem you solved that required analysis? What was the problem? How did you analyze it? What was the result?
  • Can you give me an example of a time you used data, informational research or math to come to a solution to a problem? What was the result?

Adaptability

Employees who are adaptable are able to adjust their mindset to match their surrounding environment. They do not insist on one way of doing things, but can learn quickly to solve problems on hand.

Sample Interview Questions:

  • Can you tell me a time when you had to adjust quickly to changes out of your control? What was the effect of this change? How did you deal with it? What was the result?
  • Can you tell me an example of you adapting to new environments, circumstances or people?

Conclusion

These interview questions will help you screen candidates for the soft skills that you are searching for to grow and develop the company. Make use of the face to face interview process to screen for candidates that exemplify these soft skills the best.

Employees with these soft skills will establish better connections and relationships with others, opening up more opportunities, and perhaps bringing in referrals. Since soft skills are more easily demonstrated in person, this is where referrals come in handy as they provide an additional opportunity for the referrer to assess the soft skills of the candidate if needed. Your team is the most critical part of your company, hence each step is important in making the right decision in hiring the best candidate.

James Free
James has a background in marketing and international business. With experience in working in international relations and connecting with stakeholders globally, James has helped organise various business development and career seminars for industry professionals to learn more about target overseas markets. He has also coordinated events in networking and foreign investment for other countries.