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When evaluating engineering candidates, technical skills are the highest priority. However, soft skills should be of equal importance. While you can teach someone a new software program or a best practice, you can’t teach them how to think critically, act with confidence, read other people’s emotions or change their deep-rooted values. Someone who checks off all your technical must-haves won’t succeed on the job if they can’t communicate well or collaborate with the team. Use these tips to uncover soft skills in an interview to make stronger hiring decisions.

How to Uncover Soft Skills

It is tricky to accurately assess soft skills in an interview. Behavioral questions – though far from perfect – are your best strategy for uncovering insight into a candidate’s personality and soft skills. Those questions should be tailored to your organizational culture and the requirements of the role, but here are examples to get you started.

  • Motivation-Related Questions
    • Tell me about a time you felt frustrated and unmotivated at work. How did you overcome those feelings?
    • When was the last time you went above and beyond requirements? What motivated you to take those actions?
    • Have you ever had to motivate others? Tell me about that time.
  • Empathy-Related Questions
    • Tell me about a time when listening to someone else’s perspective helped you solve a critical problem with a task.
    • When was the last time you had to deliver difficult news to someone at work? How did you approach it?
    • How do you handle it when you are busy and a coworker comes to you with a problem you deem frivolous?
  • Questions Related to Self-Awareness
    • Tell me about a time you had to overcome your biggest weakness in order to succeed.
    • We all experience bad moods. How do bad moods impact your productivity?
    • Talk about a difficult professional decision you had to make and how you arrived at your end result.
  • Questions Related to Self-Awareness
    • Tell me about a time you had to overcome your biggest weakness in order to succeed.
    • We all experience bad moods. How do bad moods impact your productivity?
    • Talk about a difficult professional decision you had to make and how you arrived at your end result.

These suggestions provide a starting point to develop your own behavioral questions that speak to your organizational culture. It can take time to uncover the best questions to ask, but the point is to include questions like these to better assess soft skills and improve the quality of new hires.

Are You Ready to Improve Your Engineering Hiring Process?

If you have a need for highly skilled engineering talent with the right hard and soft skills to succeed, reach out to the expert recruiters at Selectek today. We can quickly connect you with the talent who will add real value to your existing team and culture.

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