Wednesday, 28 August 2019
Categories: Blogs Resources

The interview process is only a brief encounter that precedes a potential long-term relationship. While the resume is often the foot in the door, the interview reveals whether the candidate is truly the right fit. Questions about education and experience are important, but they sometimes miss the mark.


We’ve all seen it before – a candidate looks dynamite on paper but fails to perform as expected. Interviewers often struggle with what questions to ask to really get to know the candidate, rather than generate rehearsed answers. The key to hiring a long term employee is determining their soft skill set. Here are 5 interview questions to ask that reveal the soft skills in your candidates.


1. Tell me about a time you had to do something you hadn’t tried before and how that made you feel.

The key to this question is determining how adaptable they are. Do they welcome a new challenge, or do they shrink from it? Are they willing to cover for a coworker if needed, or do they prefer to stay in their lane?


Adaptability is an essential trait for employees, but so is authenticity. If you sense that a candidate is not flexible with change, admire their honesty but consider whether that is a deal-breaker for their position. Be wary, however, of the thrill-seeking candidate who always wants to try something new, as this could signal that they will not be content in their role for very long.


2. Describe a time you had to deal with a difficult person and how you made it work.

Collaboration is key to your company’s success. Differing opinions often meld to form the ideal solution and are valuable to your business. Look for a candidate who doesn’t shy away from opposing personalities, but who also has a mind of their own.


Groupthink can be detrimental to progress, so a well-rounded team of people who can reach a compromise is the goal when building your staff. Any candidate who goes on and on about how difficult someone was might raise a red flag, as would the candidate who claims they have never had a work disagreement.


3. Tell me how you choose what to focus on when balancing multiple tasks.

This question seeks to identify their priorities, and better yet, if they know how to prioritize. It’s helpful to determine their previous experience with juggling projects, as well as their thought process for planning.


Look for a candidate who answers quickly, with a specific method they use, to prove they’re adept at prioritizing. Depending on your business model, this might mean working on the strictest deadline, the largest customer, or the biggest project, so choose the candidate who echoes your philosophy.


4. Describe a time your manager was out of the office and you had to handle an issue.

Answers to this question will identify whether your candidate has potential to lead and grow. If they have an example to offer, it indicates that they take on leadership or mentorship roles when needed and see beyond their job description. Hiring employees who want to grow and excel means good things for your business. The best managers are often employees who worked their way up and understand every side of the business.


5. Tell me three things you look for in a place of employment.

Most candidates know that salary is not the best answer, even if it’s at the top of their list. Look for answers that align with your company’s culture and the benefits you provide. Happy employees are productive employees, so make sure you can picture your candidate in the mix. A diverse team makes a great team, but if your core principles don’t align with the candidate’s, you may be looking for their replacement sooner than expected.


The interview process is just a quick snapshot of the person you seek to hire. In order to determine their performance potential, it’s important to read between the lines. A qualified candidate in the wrong position will ultimately be a detriment. Asking questions that reveal their soft skills increases your odds of a successful match and employment longevity.

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