How to Determine a Candidate’s Soft Skills

How to Determine a Candidate’s Soft Skills

Soft skills are just as important as tactical work skills when it comes to the ideal job candidate. How an employee acts, thinks, and interacts with others is half the battle — soft skills like communication skills, multitasking ability, leadership qualities, critical thinking, and flexibility are what makes the difference between an average candidate and a great one.

Unfortunately, a candidate’s soft skills can’t exactly be measured by examining their resume or LinkedIn profile. Here are three ways to evaluate a job candidate’s soft skills so that you can determine the best fit for the position.

Ask for Real-Life Examples

One of the easiest and most effective ways to gain an insight into a candidate’s soft skills is by asking for real-life examples from their past. This is also called asking behavioral interview questions, and it allows the candidate to talk about the ways they solved a problem, reached a conclusion or helped a coworker. You can find out how the candidate communicates, how they deal with pressure, and much more.

Ask your candidate to:

  • Describe the way they approached a seemingly insurmountable task or problem…
  • Tell you how they dealt with a difficult client, coworker, or boss…
  • Explain how they corrected a past mistake…
  • Describe a time when they had to take on a leadership role to achieve a goal.

Pose a Sample Problem

Another technique that hiring managers and recruiters use to determine soft skills is the sample problem. This involves posing a hypothetical situation or problem to the candidate, similar to something that they’ll face on the job; the technique is often called situational interviewing.

Depending on the soft skills that you’re trying to measure, modify the situation to suit your needs. If you’re trying to see how the candidate works with others, insert a hypothetical team into the sample problem. If you want to see how the candidate adapts to changing situations, have the sample problem’s end goal change halfway through the scenario.

Use References Wisely

Speaking with the job candidate’s references can tell you a lot about their soft skills and personality, and it provides invaluable information that you may not be able to get elsewhere. Ask references how the candidate has historically responded under pressure, how they delegate, or what special qualities they possess that make them an asset. You can even ask for specific examples that demonstrate the candidate’s proficiency with a certain type of soft skill.

Want to learn more about staffing your team with employees who possess stellar soft skills? Contact the recruiting experts here at OakTree Staffing for help.

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