Soft Skills in Interview Questions that Reveal All

difficult job interviews

Soft Skills in Interview Questions that Reveal All

Bad hires can make or break any company.  With the stakes so high, it’s no wonder many companies employ a variety of methods to try and find the very best candidates for their positions.  From panel interviews to skills tests, the options are endless.  There has always been a lot of emphasis placed on competency, but recent research by Gallup and other well established statistic groups have shown that soft skills are just as likely to predict overall job success as skill competency.

So how do you really get to know someone’s personality in an interview setting? By asking introspective questions that force the candidate to give unrehearsed answers that demonstrate how they think and respond to the world around them. Here are 5 Soft Skills in Interview Questions that Reveal All


  1. What do you most value about the three closest people in your life?

This is a great question for several reasons.  First, it clues you in on how easily they can come up with three close friends or family members.  This will give you an idea of how well they might form attachments in the workplace.  You can also begin to determine how closely your company values align with the things your candidate finds deep appreciation for.  Lastly, people tend to value in themselves what they value in others. Even if they are not such a great example of a given trait, they are aware, and likely working on improving that area and admire how others have mastered it.

  1. What three words would you want your teammates to describe you as?

The answer to this question will vary a lot and it’s a great indicator for employers on how a candidate views success.  Do their answers mostly speak to the social aspect of the job (fun, team player, great communicator)? Are they more closely tied to competence (expert, best, “go to” person)? Maybe they have more to do with work ethic (problem solver, hard worker, reliable).  This kind of information will not only tell you a lot about the candidate’s style, but also what they would like to be recognized for, should you decide to hire them.

  1. What was the best thing you were a part of at your last job?

This question is very different than asking, “What did you like most about your last job?”.  People expect that answer and have an answer ready to go about interacting with clients or producing great work.  This question dives deeper because is forces the candidate to identify their importance and value within a company.  It speaks to how well they feel they connected with their last team and how much value they feel they added.  Did they feel like they “belonged” or were a part of anything? Did they ever connect with the company’s mission?

  1. I have two legs, but they only touch the ground when I’m at rest. What am I?

This riddle is one of my favorites.  It has nothing to do with job and takes most candidates by complete surprise.  Nothing will throw an interviewee off their game like inserting a wild card question like this.  So, why torture this poor candidate? Because it gives you an honest look at how your candidate problem solves.  If you ask them how good they are at solving problems, of course they will tell you they excel, but this glitch you’ve just thrown at them will say it all.  Are they amused or annoyed? Do they immediately give up and ask for the answer, or do they spend some time thinking it through? Do they start to beat themselves up for not knowing the answer? Their response will tell you how they are likely to respond to curveballs in the workplace.  (fyi, the answer is “wheelbarrow”).

  1. If you could have any position with the company for one day, what would it be and why?

This question offers so much more insight than, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”.  The answer to this question will tell you how much the candidate thinks about growth, regardless of title or income.  It also shows how well they know the other moving parts to the business. It can even reveal their level of interest in their chosen career or in the industry as a whole.

For more interview tips see more of our blog posts!

Be sure to click over to our new e-book – THE ULTIMATE INTERVIEW CHECKLIST

Other sources on this topic:





One thought on “Soft Skills in Interview Questions that Reveal All

  1. Advanced competency tests will allow candidates to demonstrate their emotional and cognitive abilities through fun games Language fluency isn’t the only skill that machines can be used to detect. Advanced competency tests can tell a lot about a candidate—all from a fun and easy game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *