How to Identify a Candidate’s Soft Skills During an Interview


While filling an open position is often challenging, the pursuit of an ideal candidate can become increasingly frustrating when you factor soft skills into the evaluation. After all, they are typically more difficult to quantify and rate systematically than hard skills. Despite this, soft skills can be critical when determining an individual’s potential for success. For example, they may indicate whether a candidate will fit well within the culture, utilize an agreeable work-style and operate effectively with a team.

Without well-defined metrics, how do you determine experience with a particular soft skill? Resumes and professional profiles can provide insight into a candidate’s abilities, but it’s often difficult to truly grasp the extent of their capabilities until an interview.

Understand How They Prioritize

To find out whether someone has excellent time management skills, ask them about how they control and prioritize their days. Have them walk you through their thought processes and share what tools they use to achieve their goals. Knowing how an individual prioritizes their day will help you understand how they plan to handle responsibilities.

Test Their Communication Skills

To determine whether someone has excellent communication skills, ask them to discuss a time when they had to explain an unfamiliar or challenging concept to someone. Lead the conversation toward a point where the candidate must actively share how they communicate with different people. After all, managing and interacting with various professionals is a critical element of success.

Identify Leadership Qualities

Pinpoint leadership characteristics by asking for examples of times when they managed projects or led teams. Look for their ability to delegate, motivate and keep the ultimate goal in mind. A good leader understands they can’t do everything and shares the workload. Further pinpoint leadership characteristics by inquiring about continuing education, as professionals with leadership characteristics will take advantage of learning opportunities.

Understand Their Capacity to Work on Different Teams

To understand whether an individual works well in a collaborative environment, ask them to share a story of a time they had to work closely with somebody who had different work styles or values. Working with a myriad of personalities is often critical, regardless of the role. Leaders understand differences, are empathetic and strive to adjust in order to ensure their team’s success.

Count on Your Recruitment Partner

Your time is valuable, don’t waste it trying to find the perfect candidate, only to make a bad hiring decision. We have the skills and experience to effectively match qualified candidate to top opportunities. If you’re ready to make your next hire, contact the experts at RealStreet to request an employee.

A career in construction administration and management can be (and for me has been) one of constant transition. It’s rather common that employment with a given company starts and finishes with each successive project; you’re a new hire as it’s just getting “out of the ground,” then finished and looking for a new project (and Read More…

Greg Wangler, Pentagon Construction Management Division

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