In skilled trade, hard skills are paramount. Employees and candidates must be adept at specific skills gained via certifications and training to do the job well and safely.

However, these critical skills do not negate the importance of soft skills, the foundation of successful workplace relationships. In fact, 93% of employers say soft skills are just as, if not more important than hard skills when making a hiring decision. Unfortunately, 60% of hiring managers claim it’s much more difficult to effectively identify soft skills than measurable hard skills during an interview. And while the resume typically checks off all the hard skills, the interview is critical for evaluating soft skills. 

Soft skills are very transferable — they’re necessary in various ways for every job description! Here are some of the top soft skills to watch for: 

  • Leadership 
  • Communication 
  • Adaptability 
  • Teamwork 
  • Time management 

So, what are you to do? 

Here are some top tips for screening those skills during the hiring process! 

       1. Be Prepared 

Before the interviews phase begins, determine precisely what you are seeking. For example, what soft skills does the role require? Which would be nice to have, but aren’t a deal-breaker for hiring? Knowing ahead of time what you want helps you “know it when you see it” in candidates.  

      2. Stay Away from “Yes” and “No” Questions

These make it challenging to gauge authenticity and rarely reveal what you need to know. Instead, use open-ended questions that invite them to share a situational experience. Here are some sample questions to get you started: 

  • How would you explain a complicated process to someone with less experience?
  • How have you previously motivated others when they were struggling? 
  • Have you ever had to take the lead unexpectedly on a job? How did you handle the situation?
  • How do you structure and prioritize your workflow when there are multiple deadlines? 
  • Share about a time when you dealt with conflict on the job. How was it resolved?  
  • Has there been a time when something unexpected changed the timeline or the job process? How did you solve that problem? 
  • Describe your ideal work environment? 
  • What are your priorities when it comes to the perfect job? 
  • Share about a time when you worked through a situation with an unhappy customer?

Their answers to these questions reveal their abilities to communicate, lead, and adapt in the workplace. 

       3. Watch Body Language 

You can also learn much from how a candidate communicates. Watch their body language during the whole interview. Listen to their tone of voice, watch their posture, and note their level of eye contact. Are they fidgety and unengaged? Or are they interested, attentive, and respectful? 

       4. Check References 

 And finally, contact the candidate’s references! Ask the same questions you asked the candidate -do their comments corroborate what the candidate already shared. Be sure to listen to how they communicate as well. Are they confident in the candidate’s abilities, or do they seem hesitant to share? 

With thoughtful, focused efforts, you can identify soft skills, but help from the experts is always a plus. The team at Gillmann Services is dedicated to sending our clients top-tier talent who are adept in both hard and soft skills! Are you looking to build a strong, effective talented team? Contact us today!