At a job interview, the hiring manager will naturally question you about your expertise in your particular field and your accomplishments. But he will also question you about your soft skills. These are the personal qualities or traits a person needs to be successful in the workplace.
So, as you prepare for interviews, you need to keep in mind the soft skills as well and be prepared to give examples of how you used soft skills in your work.
The soft skills employers are looking for include communication skills, the ability to express yourself verbally and in writing. It is the ability to organize thoughts and present them in a cogent way. It involves the ability to think critically and to be able to analyze problems and find solutions and to convey those solutions to others.
But communication also involves the ability to listen, to understand the viewpoint of others and to work with others.
Other soft skills employers look for are perseverance and resilience – otherwise known as grit – and the ability to learn. Business experts have identified these as necessary for success in any job.
Some questions hiring managers may ask to determine your soft skills include the following:
- What kind of process or procedure did you use when you had to learn to do something new? What kinds of aids did you use? This question is probing the person’s capacity for learning.
- How often do you work late? Is that something that is part of your normal routine? This is probing a person’s work ethic and time management abilities.
- What do you do to stay organized? Do you use anything to help you with this? Again, probing organizational skills.
- When working in a team, what were some of the most pressing challenges you encountered and how did you deal with those challenges? This type of question is designed to gain information about a candidate’s leadership and time management skills, as well as his or her creativity, persistence and ability to learn.
- Tell me about a time when you failed at something. How did you deal with it and what did you learn from the experience? This question is intended to elicit information about a person’s resilience and tenacity.