Soft skills, also known as interpersonal or personal skills, are the character traits and social graces that allow people to work well with others.
These skills are increasingly important in the current job market as they are often the key to success in a wide variety of positions.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of testing a candidate’s soft skills during the interview process, give some examples of soft skills that are important to test for, and discuss how to test for these skills during an interview.
We will also discuss the dangers of not testing for soft skills and give you a few examples of when testing for soft skills may not be necessary
- Why is it important to test a candidate’s soft skills during an interview process?
- How can an interviewer test for soft skills during an interview?
- What are the dangers of not testing for soft skills during the interview process?
Why is it important to test a candidate’s soft skills during an interview process?
Soft skills are important for almost every job, as they play a key role in how well a person works with others, communicates, and leads a team.
Testing for these skills during the interview process can help an employer determine if a candidate is a good fit for the company culture and the specific role they are applying for. For example, if a company values teamwork and collaboration, they may want to test a candidate’s ability to work well with others by asking them a few soft skills based questions.
Some examples of soft skills that are important to test during the interview process include:
- Communication skills
- The ability to listen actively, speak clearly, and write effectively is essential for most positions.
- Interpersonal skills
- Being able to work well with others, build relationships, and resolve conflicts is important for many roles.
- Leadership skills
- The ability to inspire and motivate others, delegate tasks, and make decisions is especially important for leadership positions.
- The ability to adapt to changing circumstances and learn new skills quickly is important to many employers.
How can an interviewer test for soft skills during an interview?
There are several ways an interviewer can test a candidate’s soft skills during an interview. Some common methods include:
Asking behavioural questions
Behavioural questions ask candidates to describe a specific situation they have encountered in the past and how they dealt with it. This can give the interviewer insight into how the candidate thinks, communicates, and solves problems.
Giving a task or assignment
Some interviews may include a task or assignment that allows the candidate to demonstrate their skills in a more practical setting. For example, an interviewer might ask a candidate to give a presentation or participate in a group exercise.
Observing body language and communication style
An interviewer can also observe a candidate’s body language and communication style during the interview to get a sense of their soft skills. For example, if a candidate is able to maintain eye contact and speak clearly and confidently, this may indicate strong communication skills.
Though it is worth noting, there may be some situations where it is not necessary to test for soft skills during the interview process. For example, if the position does not require a high level of interaction with others, such as a data entry role, it may not be as important to assess the candidate’s soft skills.
Which job roles is it most important to test soft skills for?
Soft skills are important for almost every job, as they play a key role in how well a person works with others and communicates. However, there are certain roles where soft skills are especially important. For example:
- Customer service positions: Customer service representatives need strong communication and interpersonal skills to be able to effectively resolve customer issues and build relationships.
- Sales positions: Salespeople need strong communication and persuasion skills to be able to effectively sell products or services to customers.
- Leadership positions: Leaders need strong communication, interpersonal, and leadership skills to be able to effectively lead and motivate their team.
What are the dangers of not testing for soft skills during the interview process?
Not testing for soft skills during the interview process can be dangerous because it can lead to hiring candidates who may not be a good fit for the company or the team. Soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and adaptability, in certain relevant roles, are important for the overall success and cohesion of a team.
If a candidate lacks these skills, it can lead to conflicts and difficulties within the team, which can negatively impact productivity and morale, or even employee turnover.
Additionally, if the candidate has already demonstrated their soft skills through previous work experience or professional references, it may not be necessary to specifically test for them during the interview.
Want to know more about soft skills and hard skills?
We at JOIN have covered soft and hard skills in detail, within our Recruitment and HR blog! Why not check out the following articles for more?
- Why you should provide skills training
- Soft skills vs hard skills: which is more important?
- Hiring for roles vs hiring for skills
You’ll also be happy to know that we include soft skills interview questions in each of our example job interview questions templates. So, get inspired before your next interview with our interview question templates.