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Soft skills: 10 ways to hire for them
Resumes don’t tell you enough about a job candidate’s soft skills, such as communication or consensus-building. Use these 10 techniques to evaluate during the interview
6. Pay attention to details
Take note of how organized or prepared the applicant was for the interview, advises Parezo, and observe engagement: Do they make eye contact? How is their posture? Do they seem focused on the conversation or are they distant? “Non-verbal cues can say a lot about a person’s soft skills,” Parezo notes.
7. Ask them about a time that they needed to be creative
“Have them outline what steps they took,” Parezo advises. “Behavioral interview questions are a great way to observe a candidate’s critical thinking and learn how they used soft skills in a real work setting.”
8. Get hard evidence
“Ask if candidates can provide any written, non-confidential examples of their strategies and tactics and point to a published success where they played an instrumental role in developing, executing, or influencing an initiative across the company,” Harris advises.
9. Go off-script
Have a conversation. “[Ask] an unexpected question to see how they react and respond when they get taken off their personal interviewing script,” recommends Miles.
10. Conduct targeted reference checks
These are most effective when the interviewer identifies the people to talk to based on career history information and conversations with candidates rather than going off a list provided by the potential hire, Lahti says. Assure the references that their identity will not be revealed or connected with the information provided and use these discussions to dig into the individual’s strengths and weaknesses.
Push back on the “good collaborator” or “poor communicator” appraisals and ask for details – the reason behind the statement, actual examples of the attribute, details on what was said or done, and what the outcome was. Sometimes asking the reference to rate the candidate in certain traits and the reason for the rating can be enlightening as well.
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