There was a time when hard skills acquired through training and education were the driving force behind hiring new employees. But an increasingly interconnected and dynamic business landscape has made it critical that business owners look for certain soft skills as well.
The value that soft skills provide is essential for cultivating business resilience. And it’s your company’s ability to adapt to change, recover from setbacks, and persist through the tough times that will lead you to greater success.
With that in mind, let’s explore 5 valuable soft skills to look for when hiring new employees – and the questions that will help you uncover them.
Identifying Valuable Soft Skills
Evaluating the soft skills displayed by job candidates is at least as important as measuring their technical know-how. But while verifying hard skills is easy, soft skills must be assessed in a whole different manner.
Determining whether a prospective hire has the qualities your business needs can be challenging. Asking the right questions can help simplify the process.
For each of the 5 valuable soft skills listed below, we’ve included an example of a behavioural interview question suggested by international recruitment specialist, Robert Half. Use them to help speed your understanding of how to hire the most promising employees for your business.
Effective communication, the ability to listen, and a certain level of comfort dealing with conflict are much sought-after skills in the workplace. Whether it involves coworkers, customers, suppliers, or management, hiring people with a proven knack for empathetic interactions will benefit your business in every area.
Sample Interview Question: Tell me about a time when you had to give a team member constructive criticism. How did you go about giving it?
2. Time Management
Prioritizing job duties and meeting goals on time comes naturally to some people. Others gain organizational skills on the job. Either way, unless your business has the resources to train an otherwise promising candidate, you should look for employees who’ve learned how to manage their time.
Sample Interview Question: Describe a time when you had to juggle multiple projects. What system did you use to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines?
Teamwork is crucial in today’s collaborative work settings – but teams come in many forms. Some employees thrive in large, diverse groups, while others work better one-on-one. The key is to identify cooperative personalities who excel at keeping their company’s mission top-of-mind.
Sample Interview Question: Give me an example where you’ve had to work with someone who you didn’t get along with. How did you approach and resolve the situation?
Critical thinking and the ability to make decisions are important problem-solving traits. Employees don’t have to be outrageously creative to find solutions, however – they just need to be able to think on their feet, know how to take charge, and know when to get help with the situation at hand.
Sample Interview Question: Describe a project that you worked on where you had to take steps to solve a problem. What was the problem and what was the logic you applied to solve it?
5. Growth Potential
Most growth potential stems from an employee’s sense of purpose and personal drive. A strong work ethic is essential for professional growth. But your business must also be willing to nurture motivation through mentorship, performance incentives, and recognition for a job well done.
Sample Interview Question: Tell me about your greatest career achievement to date. Can you describe what steps led to the outcome?
It only makes sense to hire employees with valuable soft skills that can give your business an edge. But remember that many of these traits can be learned. If you’re having trouble finding candidates with all the skills you require, investing in a quality employee training program could prove worthwhile.