We have said it before, and we will say it again: Possessing particular soft skills are a crucial part of a good employee. It can be difficult to scan for these soft skills in a phone call or an interview. Having a lengthy conversation with a candidate can only take you so far. How do we properly assess soft skills?
Have your serious candidates do a field test or shadow for the day. While some positions may typically require candidates to perform a literal test of their skills (e.g., welding), having them shadow your employee(s) may also benefit your hiring process. Have your employees show them the ropes of how your company functions. See if they adapt, question, seek to learn, etc. Through this, you can assess how well they work with others, how they respond to criticism, and how well they adapt to new ways of doing things.
Tap into what they have done and how they reacted to situations in previous positions. During the interview, you can ask about dealing with different situations and how the candidate responded. You can also ask them their preferences about collaborating with people, trying new things, and the like. They will give clues about how they work with others and react to challenges. While it can be helpful to specifically ask about their experiences that will highlight their soft skills, take things with a grain of salt. We all try to make ourselves sound flawless/perfectly flawed in interviews.
Ask your candidates to complete an online strengths assessment! These tests have been around for many years. They can give you a good idea as to what your candidate’s strengths are, as well as where they may fall short. Once a candidate passes the first round of interviews, you will send them the test to complete. You can discuss the results with them in the following interview. Give them the opportunity to speak to how accurately they think it represents them.
Recognizing the right soft skills is key to choosing the right candidate. Now more than ever, we have the tools to test for them. Get out there and fill that role with the best candidate!