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20 Interview Questions to Test a Candidate’s Soft Skills

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By Townes Haas   |    September 30, 2019   |    1:19 PM

Questions Employers Can Ask to Assess Soft Skills During an Interview

What’s the difference between a job candidate who looks good on paper, and one who will become a valued member of your team? Soft skills.

It’s relatively easy to test a potential hire’s technical skills, but quantifying soft skills isn’t as straightforward. These 20 questions can help test a candidate’s aptitude for traits like leadership, teamwork, problem solving, communication and more, so be sure to ask them during the interview process.

1. How would you explain X to someone outside of our industry?

Soft Skill: Communication

Strong communication skills are crucial to working with colleagues and clients. And while some jobs, like copywriting or sales, rely heavily on communication, every position can benefit from healthy communication. 

You can also ask candidates to: 

2. Tell you about a time they communicated with a difficult colleague or client

3. Tell you about themselves in two sentences

4. Describe whether they prefer written or oral communication and why

5. Your teammates all agree on how to approach a task, but you disagree. How do you react?

Soft Skill: Teamwork 

Whether your company has 2 other employees or 200, people need to be able to work together. This question demonstrates how a candidate handles tricky situations, which are bound to happen eventually.

Other questions that can assess teamwork include:

6. Do you prefer to work on a team or alone?

7. What types of team-building events do you most prefer?

8. How would you handle a coworker who wasn’t pulling their weight on a project?

9. What are your go-to techniques for handling stress?

Soft Skill: Stress management

Stress happens, and you want a candidate who can handle it well. Ideally, you’ll also find someone who understands that stress can be mitigated through lifestyle choices in and out of the office.

These questions are also good for learning how well a person performs under stress:

10. What types of work situations make you feel most stressed?

11. How do you proactively prevent work from becoming too stressful?

12. Do you make work-life balance a priority? How?

13. Can you tell me about a time you had to prioritize several deadlines at once?

Soft Skill: Time management

Modern life is busy, and your small business needs someone who knows how to manage their time effectively. Additional questions to ask include:

14. Have you ever struggled to meet deadlines? How did you resolve it?

15. Are you a multitasker?

16. What do you do when there’s too much on your plate?

17. What is your trouble-shooting process when you run into a problem?

Soft Skill: Problem solving

Like the other soft skills on this list, problem solving is a must-have skill for anyone who wants to succeed in the modern workforce. 

If there’s time during the interview, here are three more questions worth asking:

18. Can you share an example of a time when you had to use creativity to solve a problem?

19. When you don’t know how to do something, how do you figure it out?

20. Can you tell me about a recent time when you overcame a significant challenge or roadblock?

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