When it comes to screening job candidates for skill sets, some are easier to judge than others. Of course, a writing sample can give you an indication of a candidate’s communication skills, and problematic questions can help you gauge a candidate’s ability to think on their feet. But how do you assess soft skills? How will you determine their level of teamwork, emotional intelligence, adaptability, and work ethic? Fortunately, there are questions you can ask a job candidate to give you some insight into their soft skills.
Tell us about a time you had to stay late at work? On the surface, this question seems like a straightforward question about work ethic. However, it can also give you insight into the candidate’s time management skills. Are they always working late to go above and beyond expectations, or do they need to put in extra work to keep up?
Tell me about your biggest work failure, and what did you learn from it? Resilience is a crucial soft skill that every organization needs. Finding out how a person responds to a setback can give you an indication of how well they will respond to future disappointments and failures.
Discuss the last time you were asked to do something that violated your code of ethics? All organizations value integrity and this question will help you measure the integrity of the job candidate. Will they go along with the crowd, or will they take a stand to do the right thing? Look for the employee who will steer clear of questionable decisions.
How do you stay on top of current trends in the industry? In business, the top leaders and employees are always learning new things. These top performers even encourage others to grow professionally. For management candidates, especially, there should always be a desire to learn new things and pass the knowledge on to their team.
Describe a conflict between you and a colleague and how you addressed the situation? This question will tell you about the candidate’s conflict-resolution abilities. It may also give you insight regarding how flexible the candidate is in adapting their expectations to achieve greater organizational good.
What is the most stimulating characteristic of your current or recent position? What did you enjoy about it? This question is all about cultural fit. If social interaction with clients daily was a highlight, and the prospective role offers no such engagement, then you will have your answer.
Have you ever fired someone? Firing someone is a difficult situation. There is a high potential for conflict, and if mishandled, the situation can involve liability for a company. A leader with soft skills will have a good idea of how to handle difficult conversations, such as firing an employee.
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