Soft Skills for Interviewing- Recruiters and candidate’s secrets


Assessing “Soft Skills”
Information from our recruiter
Melanie Kirk

Remember from the Interviewing Guideline Sheet-Research has shown that interviewing is an unreliable predictor of job performance. Decisions are made too quickly or are biased by a number of factors. Independent raters often disagree in their evaluation of the same candidate. While interviews may never be a highly valued predictor of success, a few basic guidelines will improve their predictive power.

I. Questions to reveal Integrity/Honesty/Trustworthiness

1. Discuss a time when your integrity was challenged.
2. What would you do if someone asked you to do something against company values or your own values?
3. Have you ever experienced a loss for doing what is right?
4. In what business situations do you feel honesty would be appropriate?
5. If you saw a co-worker do something dishonest, would you tell your boss? What would you do about it?

II. Questions to reveal Personality/Temperament/Ability to work with others
1. What brings you joy?
2. How would you describe your personality?
3. If I called your references, what would they say about you?
4. What kinds of people would you rather not work with?
5. What kinds of responsibilities would you like to avoid in your job?
6. Have you ever had to resolve conflict with a coworker or client? How did you resolve it?
7. Tell me about a work situation that irritated you?
8. What sort of relationship do you have with your associates, both at the same level and below you?
9. Tell me about some groups you’ve had to get cooperation from. What did you do?
10. How have you worked with members of your team in the past?
11. Have you ever had a project that was returned for errors? What effect did this have on you?
12. What previous job was the most satisfying and why?
13. What job was the most frustrating and why?
14. What do you think you owe to your employer?
15. What does your employer owe to you?

III. Questions to Reveal Past Mistakes
1. Tell me about an objective in your last job that you failed to meet and why
2. When is the last time you were criticized? How did you deal with it?
3. Tell me about a situation where you “blew it.” How did you resolve or correct it to save face?
4. Tell me about a situation where you abruptly had to change what you were doing?
5. If you could change one managerial decision you made during the past two years what would it be?
6. If you had the opportunity to change anything in your career, what would you have done differently?

IV. Questions to reveal creativity/ Creative Thinking/Problem Solving

1. When was the last time you “broke the rules” to think outside the box?
2. What have you done that you think was truly innovative?
3. Give me an example of when someone brought you a new idea, particularly one that was odd or unusual. What did you do?
4. Describe a situation in which you had a difficult “management” decision. How did you solve it?
5. What is the most difficult decision you’ve had to make? How did you arrive at your decision?
6. Describe a situation in which you worked under pressure or deadline.
7. Were you ever in a situation in which you had to meet two different deadlines given to you by two different people and you couldn’t do both? What did you do?
8. What type of approach to solving work problems works best for you? Give me an example of when you solved a tough problem?
9. When taking on a new task, do you like to have a great deal of feedback and responsibility at the outset, or do you like to try your own approach?
10. You’re on the phone with another department resolving a problem. The intercom pages you for a customer on hold. Your manager returns your monthly report with red pen marking and demands corrections within the hour. What do you do?
11. Describe a sales presentation when you had the right product/service, and the customer wanted it but wouldn’t buy it. What did you do?
12. productTell me about a time when you negotiated a difficult and important bid and sold it. What did you do to make it successful?

V. Miscellaneous Good Questions

1. How do you measure your own success?
2. What is the most interesting thing you have done in the last three years?
3. What are your short-term and your long-term short term goals in your career?
4. What kind of responsibilities do you want, and what kinds of results do you expect to achieve in your next job?
5. What do you think it takes to be successful in a company like ours?
6. What is the best thing a previous employer did that you wish everyone did?
7. What are you most proud of?
8. What is important to you in a job?
9. What do you expect to find in our company that you don’t have now?
10. Is there anything you wanted me to know about you that we haven’t discussed?
11. Do you have any questions for me?

VI. Close the Interview

1. Allow the candidate to ask questions
2. Thank the candidate and tell him/her what the next step is.
3. Review the notes you took and refine your theory.
4. Make decisions based on the match
5. Follow through as promised
6. Use Psychological Testing to confirm your theory?


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