Would you consider marrying someone you have never met before, but looks good on paper? I’m guessing most people would not accept a marriage proposal from someone they have not previous met, even if that person looked great on paper. A job offer is similar in that it can be a potentially life-changing event that needs careful deliberation.
Job interviews provide an opportunity for the employer to assess how well an applicant’s skills align with the company’s needs. Job interviews allow applicants a time to get better acquainted with a prospective company and co-workers.
Traditionally, interviews usually consist of an employer asking applicants about their skills and experience to see if they would be a good fit for the job. Interviews can range from in-person or over the phone, to one-on-one or in group settings. According to a recent Global Recruiting Trends 2018 report, traditional interviewing methods rank especially bad for assessing soft skills and weaknesses.
Learn to assess soft skills and find good team members
These soft skills, such as leadership, relationship building, communications, adaptability, strategic thinking and work ethic, take up to 25 percent of the skills required to do the job and to be a great teammate. Unfortunately, these skills are arguably the most difficult to assess. You can test for soft skills using such tools as a 20-minute survey, which can provide a more objective measure of a person’s traits.
Using interview questions to determine soft skills is another method, but can be difficult, as most candidates prepare for interviews and put on their best front. This makes it difficult to assess soft skills. Also, interviewers sometimes contribute to the assessment problem by how they ask questions. For example, asking, “Are you a team player?” sets the applicant up for answering with a simple “Yes”, which doesn’t offer additional information about their skill set. Below are a few examples of interview questions that can be used to better help assess important soft skills:
- Tell me about a time when your team was in a difficult position and you took the lead.
- What would you do if your team members disagreed with your instructions?
- Tell me about a time you dealt with a team member who constantly opposed your ideas.
- Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult co-worker.
- How would you prioritize multiple tasks with the same deadline?
- Tell me about a time you had to make a decision with incomplete information.
- If you spotted a mistake in a report but your manager wasn’t available, what would you do?
- Tell me about a time you faced an ethical dilemma at work. What steps would you take if you discovered your supervisor was breaking the company’s code of conduct?
Thom Moore, Partnership Manager