Weighing Soft Skills During an Interview

John Krautzel
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Assessing a candidate's hard skills is relatively easy during a job interview because they are measurable, but soft skills are harder to judge. That's why you need a strategy for determining if someone's personal brand is the perfect fit for your team. Figure out what you need to do to gain the most insight from your interview process.

Use Three People

Have a team approach during a job interview by using at least three people to help you determine a candidate's soft skills. One stakeholder should be the hiring manager, another should be a peer who is on the team and the third member should be an advocate for the company. The hiring manager is an obvious choice since that person would be the candidate's direct supervisor, while a peer is someone in the firm who has the same rank as the incoming employee. A company representative can be someone who is higher up the chain of command or someone from human resources who can discuss the benefits of working for the company.

Having three people on the panel allows you to gain more than one perspective. Different perspectives, backgrounds and attitudes about a potential employee helps managers to reach a consensus that works well for the company.

Align Candidates with Your Culture

Having a new worker who fits in with your company culture makes them more comfortable, happier and more relaxed when on the job. Give each candidate a tour of the office to see how they interact with staffers. Having employees who follow the company culture improves morale, encourages good habits and keeps everyone on the same page. You can't teach someone to fit in with your company culture, which is why assessing soft skills during an interview is important.

Dive into Personality Tests

Although not scientifically accurate, personality tests can say a lot about a person's soft skills. Personality tests gauge how someone responds to real-world scenarios. These tests often hypothetical problems a candidate may face, customer-facing situations or dealing with conflict at work. HR should administer these tests to make sure they comply with labor laws.

Ask for Self-Assessments

Asking candidates behavioral questions is one way to gauge their personality, but these could be problematic because potential employees can say whatever it takes to intrigue an employer. Instead of asking about strengths and weaknesses or how to handle certain situations, let candidates themselves rank their skills. Provide a list of skills and ask each candidate to rank them from one to 10, with one being the best and 10 being the worst. Have each person explain their rankings in a few sentences to find out more details about their mindset and thought process.

Soft skills represent qualities that each candidate should have no matter what job they apply for, yet determining the perfect candidate is one of the most difficult challenges facing companies today. How do you figure out who to hire based on a skill set?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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