Soft skills have become just as, if not more, important than technical skills to hiring managers in recent years. Soft skills are skills such as emotional intelligence, people or social skills, communication ability, along with character and personality traits. Companies are no longer only looking for a candidate who can do a given
job, but rather someone who will fit in, or thrive, within their company’s culture.
With the coronavirus pandemic, we have shifted from a candidate’s to an employer’s job market, so you will likely have a larger candidate pool from which to choose. However, the pandemic has also brought new skills to be top priorities; adaptability, flexibility, and agility. While those skills were beneficial a year ago, they
are critical now. For senior-level positions, many companies are now also valuing employers who can “roll up their sleeves” and get the job done. Most companies have seen budgets tightening, so managers are now wearing multiple hats to fill numerous roles to get the job done. But, how can you judge all that from an interview?
First, your team needs to collectively decide what soft skills are the highest priority for your organization. Look as to how and why your company works. Examine factors, including company culture, values, relationships with customers, and even team sizes. Now prepared with that information, describe the ideal candidate for
that position. This model will allow you to determine which 4 or 5 skills are of the highest importance for the role you are trying to fill and focus on those.
Now, when you are performing your interview, you can compare your interviewee to the ideal candidate you created. Use open-ended questions to allow your candidate to fully explain themselves. Further, do not hesitate to ask them to go on, or elaborate; you want to enable the candidate to reveal themselves in a new way.
Refer back to the STAR interview technique, and frame your questions to allow for your candidate to describe a situation, task, action, and a result. Questions such as “Can you discuss a time when you had to manage your team through a difficult situation” or “What are your actions if employees disagree with your decision”, will allow you to really get to know your candidate.
Finally, do not forget to use your candidate’s references. If you are looking for someone who is a team player, why not call those references and ask how they work in a team environment?