How to detect soft skills during job interview?

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In our article about the balance between soft skills and hard skills, we explained that a good recruitment is always a good mix between technical skills (hard skills) and behavioral skills (soft skills). But then, how to detect soft skills in a job interview? Soft skills are neither tangible nor measurable. To spot them, you have to keep your eyes open and pay special attention to details. Here are some explanations.

Define the necessary soft skills at the beginning of the recruitment process

Do you usually start your recruitment process by listing the technical skills required? Don’t forget to include the soft skills in your list as well. There’s no secret to effectively identifying the behavioral skills needed for each position. You must have them in mind from the beginning of the recruitment process! This is the only way to conduct a relevant and targeted search.

For each position, define four or five essential soft skills. You will then have to detect them in the candidates.

The right reflex: emphasize, in each job description, the soft skills required by the job in question, as well as their importance. This way, you will attract candidates who identify with these soft skills, and you will filter the applications in a natural way. Then keep these soft skills in mind when selecting resumes.

💡 Don’t hesitate to analyze the form of the candidates’ CVs: impeccable design and an absence of typos show thoroughness and attention to detail, for example.

Detecting soft skills: questions to ask

In order to identify the real personality of the candidates, as well as their potential, you must avoid at all costs the “name two qualities and two defects” type of questions. Relevant questions can surprise applicants by their unusual character, without destabilizing them.

Also, Do not hesitate to put them at ease as much as possible. Your candidates must realize that the interview is not an interrogation, but an exchange. You need, above all, to understand who they really are, beyond their CV.

Here are some examples of questions to ask in order to obtain sincere and relevant answers, which will give you information on the candidate’s personal skills.

To evaluate a candidate’s ability to adapt:

“When was the last time you demonstrated great adaptability on the job, and how did it go?”
“What is your biggest apprehension when joining a new company?”
“Name an example of an assignment unrelated to your current job description that you have completed.”
“If there is a disagreement between you and another member of your team, how do you respond?”

To assess a candidate’s creativity:

“Tell me about an accomplishment you are particularly proud of and consider original.”
“What is the best idea you’ve had at work?”
“What do you do to cultivate your creativity daily?”

To assess a candidate’s curiosity:

“Do you practice regular monitoring of your field, and if so, how?”
“What is the next training you would like to do, and why?”
“What are your tips for updating your skills regularly?”

To assess a candidate’s ambition:

“What makes you happy at work?”
“Tell me about your driving force?”
“What does your ideal retirement look like?”

💡 Always favor open-ended questions, inviting candidates to illustrate their point. To avoid anecdotal answers, ask for concrete, detailed examples

Be creative

Remember that it is not easy to get a glimpse of a candidate’s true personality during a job interview. Some candidates are particularly comfortable with the exercise. Others lose their nerve because of the stress. By proposing original and unusual questions, you can lighten the atmosphere and encourage candidates to be themselves. In other words, a good recruiter must have a good human sensitivity in order to detect the soft skills of the candidates.

If you are faced with a shy candidate, for example, ask him/her about a character trait that is not immediately obvious, but which is his/her strength.

The more personalized your questions are and the more they are tailored to each candidate, the more he/she will feel confident and will be able to reveal his/her true personality.

Detecting candidates’ soft skills in practice

There are many situations that can allow you to detect certain soft skills in an applicant throughout the application process:

If the candidate demonstrates a flawless punctuality, it attests to a certain seriousness and a sense of organization.
A clear and concise speech indicates excellent oral communication.
If the candidate is honest about his or her previous professional experiences and does not hesitate to address weaknesses or mistakes made in the past, this indicates integrity and the ability to question oneself.
Also, if you receive, after your interview with the applicant, an email summarizing the ideas retained from your exchange, as well as his or her strengths in relation to the position, it seems obvious that the candidate does not lack proactivity, nor determination.
💡 To learn more about the applicant’s values, ask them to tell you about the last time they felt out of place at a company, and why.

Use recruitment software

By using an ATS like Jobaffinity, you can eliminate repetitive and time-consuming tasks from your daily routine. The result? You have more time to spend on value-added tasks, such as analyzing applications and preparing for interviews.

You can even go one step further by evaluating the soft skills of your candidates with software such as AssessFirst or CentralTest. These tools use behavioral science and AI to help you identify the personality of candidates. AssessFirst and CentralTest assess the motivation, personality and skills of your candidates using innovative and predictive assessment tools.

The good news is that both of these tools are accessible from Jobaffinity our recruitment software, which integrates the best HR applications.

Don’t wait any longer: ask for a Jobaffinity demo !

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