Assessing Soft Skills: Do you play nice with others?

Need a team player?

Regardless of the industry, success in most jobs requires the ability to work well with peers, superiors and (when applicable) direct reports. Even if an individual has the ideal job skills and experience, if they’re difficult to get along with, they may wind up causing unneeded workplace conflicts, stress or even turnover.

Nobody needs that.

It’s no secret: hiring great people starts with great interviewing techniques. The next time you need someone who will “play nice with others in your organization,” use these tips to find out what you want to know during the job interview:

Pay attention to nonverbal cues. Observe the candidate in the waiting room. Do they demonstrate curiosity about the company or greet the receptionist in a friendly manner? In the interview, watch for signs that the individual is personable, respectful and considerate:

  • smiles genuinely and makes appropriate eye contact;
  • interacts fittingly with other employees when introduced;
  • mirrors your posture appropriately.

Ask behavioral questions for assessing soft skills. Ideally, you want to hire an individual with solid social skills – including things like self-awareness, empathy, social intelligence and self control. Customize the following questions to determine if your candidate has the interpersonal skills the job requires:

  • Describe influences on your career to this point. Pay attention to how they describes others in their  answer. Responses that are highly judgmental or give little credit to others may be associated with low sensitivity to co-workers.
  • What are the most effective ways to manage you? This reveals how self-aware a candidate is, as well as whether or not they understand the keys to their own success.
  • Describe a complex challenge you faced as part of a team or group. How did you overcome it? Note the role the interviewee played, as well as how they describe the interactions they had with co-workers.
  • When work gets stressful and you feel overloaded, how do you handle things? Obviously, your candidate is not likely to say that they gnash their teeth and lash out at co-workers. However, their response may provide clues as to whether or not they work well with others when things get tough at work.

No matter what questions you ask to assess soft skills:

  • Probe mundane responses to uncover true evidence of the skills you seek (anecdotes, success stories, measurable accomplishments and the like).
  • Resist the urge to rate a candidate favorably based on a “gut feeling.”

Need help hiring team players?


PrideStaff can help you take the speculation and risk out of recruiting, screening and hiring.  Our On Target fulfillment process was designed to eliminate chance and inconsistency, helping you to receive better quality candidates each and every time.

Whether your needs are entry-level or management, On Target can make your hiring process more successful.  Contact your local PrideStaff office today to learn more.