5 Questions to Assess a Candidate’s Soft Skills

On paper, a candidate might seem like the best person for the job, but a resume doesn’t tell the whole story. If the person isn’t equipped with the right soft skills — i.e., communication, teamwork, leadership, time management, customer service, and etc. — they won’t be a match for your company culture.

Soft skills are much harder to gauge than hard skills because determining them requires a little digging. Asking behavioral job interview questions is the best way to see what the person has to offer, so work several into the conversation.

Tell me about a time when you were assigned to a project with a tight deadline.

Ideal for gauging the candidate’s level of adaptability, this question will allow you to see how they operate under pressure. If they have a difficult time answering or reveal how stressful the situation in question was, they’re probably not someone you can rely on in a pinch.

Describe a time when you had to work with a difficult colleague.

Every workplace is filled with a variety of personalities, which can have both positive and negative consequences. You can’t expect employees to always see eye to eye, but you should expect them to always treat one another with respect. The best candidate will show off stellar interpersonal skills by being honest about a clash of opinion with a current or former colleague, and impressing you with the kind and responsible manner in which they dealt with the situation.

How do you handle projects that don’t go as planned?

No matter how carefully a project is mapped, there’s no guarantee the team won’t incur hiccups along the way. You need a new hire with a set of steadfast leadership skills that don’t waver when the going gets rough. If the candidate hints at even the slightest inability to roll with the punches, move on to the next.

Share an example of a time you had to deal with a demanding client.

Some clients are a breeze to work with, but others are more of a nightmare. Chances are, your company comes in contact with both, so you need a candidate with outstanding customer service skills. Feel confident the person is a good choice if the story they share proves their ability to please even the most challenging clients.

How do you stay organized when you’re working on several different projects simultaneously?

Most employees on your team probably have several projects in motion at any given time, so you need a new hire who can do the same. This question allows you to evaluate their time management skills, so you can decide if they’ll be able to keep all their ducks in a row. If the candidate shares a clear system of order, feel confident they can maintain order in a fast-paced environment.

Finding the right person for the job is a major time investment, so allow ECS to take a few tasks off your plate. Our team offers a variety of services to recruiters and employers, designed to help ease the workload associated with employing contingent staffers. Get in touch today to learn more!

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