If recruitment was just about finding a candidate with the right technical knowledge and qualifications, it would be easy. But if you want to secure long-term talent for your business, what you really need is a keen eye for soft skills.

Ever hired a seemingly ‘perfect’ applicant based on experience alone? Then you’ve probably learnt the hard way. As well as the resume inspection, your interview should focus on the soft skills required for the role. This, combined with the right behavioural questions, will help you recruit people that will thrive in your organisation.

Here, we highlight six soft skills every business should look out for, and provide example questions and candidate characteristics to help you in the interview process.

1. Adaptability

Technological advances, market shifts and changing business needs rely on flexible approaches. For smooth progression, employees should excel when faced with challenges or company changes.

To determine this, interview questions should include:

  • Give one example of when you had to embrace a fundamentally different system from the one you were used to
  • Recall a time when you had to adjust to a colleague’s working style to complete a task or project
  • Describe a situation when you were assigned a task outside of your job description

While desirable characteristics are: eager, willing, flexible.

2. Culture add

Don’t just look for the ‘right fit’. Hire a candidate who brings something fresh to the table and gives your business the chance to evolve.

You might ask:

  • Beyond your CV, what’s the most interesting thing about you?
  • What three things do you value most in job
  • Which of your traits are most likely to be misunderstood by a colleague?

And look for characteristics like: individual, aligned with company values, transparent.

3. Collaboration

The ability to collaborate during teamwork can have positive knock-on effects. Regardless of group size, it only takes one cog to dismantle the wheel.

Your questions should include:

  • Recall a situation where somebody struggled to understand you. How did you deal with it?
  • What do you like most about teamwork?
  • Describe a situation where a team member was difficult to get along with. How did you deal with it?

Candidates should be: patient, inclusive, empathetic.

4. Leadership

The quality of leadership can make or break an employee. Besides a leader’s personal contribution, their ability to inspire others is a game changer.

Consider asking the following:

  • Describe the toughest decision you’ve had to make in your current/previous role.
  • Give an example of when you’ve had to convince someone of your way of thinking.
  • Tell me when you have had to lead by example.

5. Growth potential

An employee who takes ownership will likely last longer and evolve. This builds company loyalty and reduces the need for costly rehiring.

Candidates should answer:

  • What’s the biggest career goal you’ve reached?
  • Have you had to resolve a problem in the absence of your manager? How did you handle it?
  • Recall a time when you asked for direct feedback and why you did it.

Plus, they should be: motivated, independent, self-improvement focused.

6. Prioritisation 

Effective time management and prioritised decision making ensures deadlines are met and high-pressure situations are managed.

Behavioural questions include:

  • Tell me how you organised and scheduled tasks in a previous project.
  • Give an example of how you’ve handled stress in a high-pressure scenario.
  • Describe the last time you successfully delegated a task.

While desirable characteristics are: methodical, organised, insightful.

Cast UK can help

Of course, all skill requirements depend on the job role and the type of candidate you hope to hire. But the soft skills outlined here should help you identify key questions for your next set of interviews.

As for making sure you get the right talent in the interview room, turn to Cast UK. We simplify talent acquisition with flexible solutions made to meet your needs. Get in touch with us on 0333 121 3345 or at hello@castuk.com.