Soft Skills 2019

How Hiring Managers Can Best Assess Job Candidates’ Soft Skills

During the hiring process, hiring mangers pay a great deal of attention to a candidate’s hard skills, the quantifiable abilities that potential new hires have gained through education, certification, or prior work experience. However, just as crucial as a recruit’s hard skills are their soft skills, their interpersonal or “people” skills.

Unlike hard skills, though, soft skills are more difficult to evaluate. How can a hiring manager accurately gauge an individual’s communication or teamwork abilities? What scale or system can these types of skills be measured on?

Read on to learn some of the best ways hiring managers can assess job candidates’ soft skills during the hiring process.

Interview Questions That Reveal Soft Skills

Resumes rarely capture a job candidate’s soft skills. These attributes become more apparent during the interview process. Whether a hiring manager is conducting an interview in person, on the phone, or via video chat, there are specific kinds of questions that can be posed to the applicant that will showcase their soft skills.

Situational or behavioral questions are the best type to ask a candidate during the interview. Using these strategies works well because it forces the potential new hire to either discuss how they handled a previous experience in the workplace or explain how they would tackle a hypothetical situation that you created for them.

These questions get the person talking and require them to not just list accomplishments or degrees but truly describe who they are as a worker.

Body Language and Composure

While an interviewee may be telling you how great of a team player they are or that they are always willing to ask for help if they need it, be sure to pay attention to more than just the words coming of out their mouth. Look at their body language.

According to research from Professor Albert Mehrabian, 55 percent of human communication occurs through body language.

It’s not just what a candidate says to you during an interview that is significant but how also they say. Are they truly confident in their soft skills, or are they just putting on a show?

Be on the lookout in case a job candidate’s body betrays their words.

How Do I Rate a Potential Hire’s Soft Skills?

The most important component when it comes to evaluating a job candidate’s soft skills is ensuring that interviews with all candidates are as structured as possible.

Essentially, you want to approach each person you interview with a clear and concise job description, a specific list of requirements (that, obviously, include the soft skills you are focusing on), and a collection pre-selected, position-specific interview questions.

Additionally, you may want to create a uniform scoring system for each job candidate. This system can be whatever you find most useful; for example, you can try a 1-5 rating scale, a thumbs up, thumbs down, or neutral grading system, or even a checklist.

Lastly, you may consider using a skills assessment tool from organizations like Plum or Criteria.

Going Forward

There’s no secret formula to evaluating a job candidate’s soft skills, but the strategies listed above are proven to work more often than not.

When you hire someone, you want more than just a list of accomplishments on a piece of paper; you want someone who can handle pressure, work well with others, and bring positivity to the workplace.

Being able to assess their soft skills in the best way possible helps make sure that you’re truly hiring the right person for the job.

Do you have any questions about this blog post or any of the services DSP offers? If so, be sure to contact us today!

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