Are You Interviewing for Soft Skills?

“Soft” skills suffer from a misnomer. They’re called “soft” skills to distinguish them from job-specific technical skills, but there’s nothing “soft” or weak about them. Also known as transferable skills, soft skills are the ones that are essential to success on any team or in any workplace. 

As a result, candidates with strong soft skills often outperform those with good technical knowledge but weak soft skills. Here’s how to determine whether a candidate’s soft skills are strong.  

1. Determine which soft skills are most essential to the job. 

While all transferable skills can help a candidate succeed in any workplace, some jobs emphasize certain skills more than others. Customer service reps, for instance, need excellent communication skills, while project managers require good planning and organization abilities. 

By figuring out which soft skills matter most in this job and career, you can focus on finding candidates who have honed these abilities. 

2. When in doubt, look for candidates with the most in-demand soft skills. 

Some soft skills are in high demand in every job, company, and industry. If you’re having trouble choosing specific soft skills that matter most in this job, focus on finding candidates with the most sought after skills. 

Top soft skills include communication, teamwork, leadership, adaptability, and critical thinking. The ability to learn new skills is also essential in today’s rapidly-changing work world. 

3. Ask behavioral and situational questions to learn more about soft skills. 

Behavioral and situational interview questions invite candidates to describe how they have responded to actual past situations, which can provide a clearer view of their soft skills than merely asking them what they would do in a hypothetical future situation.  

For instance, the question “Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a co-worker” can help you learn more about a candidate’s approach to conflict, their communication skills, and their willingness or ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes in order to understand their perspective. 

The recruiters at THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC help connect our clients in Minneapolis and St. Paul with some of the best available talent in the state. To learn more, contact us today.  

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