Assessing Applicants’ “Soft Skills”

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Soft skills are at least as important for success in today’s workplace as technical skills. In almost any industry, your employees will most likely work in teams. Certain types of skills and emotional intelligence can be crucial to success on the job in many of these situations. Assessing these soft skills can be difficult. Nick Roy offers some simple questions to use when you are conducting interviews.

Questions to reveal creativity/creative thinking/problem solving:

  • When was the last time you “broke the rules” and thought outside the box), and how did you do it?
  • What have you done that was innovative?
  • What was the wildest idea you had in the past year? What did you do about it?

  • Give me an example of when someone brought you a new idea, particularly one that was odd or unusual. What did you do?
  • If you could do anything in the world, what would you do?
  • Describe a situation in which you had a difficult (management) problem. How did you solve it?
  • What is the most difficult decision you’ve had to make? How did you arrive at your decision?
  • Describe some situations in which you worked under pressure or met deadlines.
  • Were you ever in a situation in which you had to meet two different deadlines given to you by two different people and you couldn’t do both? What did you do?
  • What type of approach to solving work problems seems to work best for you? Give me an example of when you solved a tough problem.
  • When taking on a new task, do you like to have a great deal of feedback and responsibility at the outset, or do you like to try your own approach?
  • You’re on the phone with another department resolving a problem. The intercom pages you for a customer on hold. Your manager returns your monthly report with red pen markings and demands corrections within the hour. What do you do?


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