Asking Questions That Show & Tell
A candidate can claim various soft skills on their resume – abilities that are notoriously hard to measure. So how can hiring managers suss out the hard facts when it comes to soft skills? When evaluating a candidate’s soft skill savvy, hiring managers will need to rely on questions that elicit qualitative descriptions that illustrate how a candidate behaved in a workplace situation. Here are some questions a hiring manager might use to evaluate today’s most coveted candidate characteristics:
Soft skills are increasingly important in today’s changing landscape. Communication, taking initiative, time management, self-discipline, and professionalism are highly prized characteristics of talent today. With hybrid work models and more employees working from home than ever before, it’s logical that hiring managers see these skills as having a direct impact on employee productivity and engagement with their work.
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How would you handle day-to-day information versus matters of urgency?
Which technology or applications would you use to keep communication open and current?
Give me an example of when you had to explain to your manager a complex challenge you encountered while working on a project.
Describe a time when you had to convince someone resistant to an idea
or a change.
Explain how you resolved a miscommunication on your team or conflict between colleagues.
Describe a time when you had to work cross-functionally with another team or department.
Would you please share an email that you feel demonstrates your
well-developed communication skills?
What techniques do you use to stay focused throughout the day and during the duration of a project?
How do you maintain self-motivation, especially when you are working on something that seems boring or unimportant?
Describe a situation when you’d seek out your manager’s help.
Give me an example of a project or initiative that you took from idea to executed deliverable.
Tell me about a time where you took on extra responsibility or went above and beyond your set role.
Detail a situation when you recognized there was a better way to do something, and you took the initiative to improve the process.
Talk to me about your process for organizing your day.
Tell me about a time you had competing deadlines.
How do you manage stress or feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list?
What routines or productivity tools do you employ to manage your day?
Grade yourself as an organized project manager – give me an example that justifies this evaluation.
Have you ever missed a deadline (describe why that happened and how you managed it)?
How do you minimize distractions during the workday?
How do you motivate yourself to tackle the least appealing item on your to-do list?
Explain how you balance work and home demands.
Tell me about a time you made a mistake or missed a deadline.
Tell me about a time you had to address problematic behavior from a co-worker.
Remind me why you are leaving your current employer. What is your primary complaint about your current manager? (Note: a candidate with a finely tuned sense of ethics and professionalism will avoid negative comments about previous employers and managers)
Describe a situation when you were privy to confidential information and how you handled it.
What dimensions of professionalism do you believe are most important to this role?
Managers should take a bit of extra time to prepare thoughtful interview questions to uncover candidates’ remote-work readiness.
LEARNING AGILITY & TECHNICAL ADAPTABILITY
Tell me about a time you needed to troubleshoot a technical issue yourself.
Which online tools do you regularly use to do your work?
How do you keep your technical skills sharp?
What’s a new software program you needed to learn to use recently – how did you go about that?