Soft skills elude many hiring managers. That’s because soft skills rarely fit into standardized tests. Whereas it’s relatively easy to run tests on typing, editing, math or filing, it’s much harder to test for integrity, honesty, relationship building and teamwork. To determine soft skills, human resources professionals and hiring managers need to design interviews with soft skills in mind. Strategic interview techniques can go a long way toward helping find the right candidates.
Top five ways to assess soft skills
1. To check writing skills, review the candidate’s resume and cover letter. A great resume and cover letter may indicate that the candidate has good writing skills. However, you might want to try exchanging emails with the jobseeker, in case they had a friend or consultant work on the application.
2. For verbal skills, try using open-ended questions during the interview. Encourage the candidate to provide detailed explanations. Using questions and statements such as “Can you tell me about a time when….?” or “Give an example of a situation in which you…” can help you test verbal skills.
3. When evaluating interpersonal skills, ask the candidate to describe past work relationships. Ask questions such as “Tell me about the best boss you ever had” or “Describe a time when a project went wrong”.
4. If you’re looking to explore integrity and honesty, ask the candidate a question such as “Describe your greatest success and biggest failure?”
5. To weigh personality, try questions such as “What makes you happy?” or “What really bugs you?”
Employers can also try using psychometric assessments and employment assessment tests to uncover personality quirks, work styles and soft skills. But interview provides a great opportunity to test for those same things in person.
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