EXECUTIVE INSIGHTS - BLOG
A few weekends ago, while supervising a Habitat for Humanity build outside of Atlanta, I was reminded just how important soft skills
are for accomplishing complex projects. While some of our team members had never participated in a Habitat build – much less
worked construction – communication, resourcefulness, and creative thinking really helped us come together as a team and complete
our portion of the build on schedule.
Whether it’s a volunteer project or a workplace challenge, when it comes to success, the right soft skills matter just as much as the
right technical skills. Employers know this; that’s why they are placing an even greater focus on soft skills interview questions during
the hiring process. If you are unable to effectively collaborate with others, clearly communicate your ideas or think creatively, then it
doesn’t matter how talented you are – chances are you won’t be a good fit in the workplace.
Soft skills interview questions are tricky, however; few interviewers are going to flat out say, “Tell me about a time you were a team
player” or “Tell me about a time you used feedback to improve workplace performance.” It’s up to you, as the interviewee, to weave
these skills into your answers.
Here’s three effective was to master soft skills interview questions and answers for your next big interview:
1. Share an anecdote. Effective storytelling is key is to successfully weaving your soft skills into each interview answer. Master the art
of interview storytelling by following the STAR format: Situation, Task, Action, and Results. In 60 seconds or less, give an overview of
the situation and the task at hand. What actions did you take to address the issues? Finally, quantify and qualify the results you
achieved thanks to your soft skills.
2. Demonstrate a diversity of soft skills. Being a team player, for example, means balancing cooperation with initiative. Flexibility is
a valuable asset; problem-solving skills and resourcefulness are equally important when unexpected issues inevitably arise. When
preparing for an interview, select stories that highlight multiple soft skills. Be sure that these stories also demonstrate that you are a
good fit for the workplace’s culture; even the strongest skill set can’t overcome a poor workplace culture fit.
3. Win with confidence. Don’t just say you have the skills the company needs; exude a positive attitude, enthusiasm, and confidence
during your interview. And remember, while confidence is key, so too is the ability to learn from past mistakes. When asked about your
“greatest professional challenge”, reference an experience where you applied lessons learned from past feedback to foster
If you are a hiring manager, what soft skills do you consider most important for on-the-job success? If you are an interviewee, how
have you demonstrated your soft skills during the interview? As an executive recruiter, I’m interested in hearing more from both
perspectives and welcome your thoughts.
Sell Your Soft Skills in Your Next Interview
Senior Partner – Manufacturing