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Candidates need technical skills and education to qualify for a job, but it’s the extras that make the difference. A positive attitude, effective communication, a strong work ethic, emotional intelligence and more are high on the soft skill must-have list. These are what set a good employee apart from a great one. So when you’re looking to hire a new employee, how can you determine if they have these important extras?

How to evaluate soft skills

You can do this during an interview—through the questions you ask and based on how a candidate acts. Consider the following:

  • Describe a problem and ask how they would solve it. During the interview, ask about an actual problem you encounter at your company, and how the candidate would suggest solving it. Look for instances of key soft skills—communication and teamwork, for example.
  • Include an online test as part of the interview. Many tests are available to help you evaluate a candidate’s soft skills. Your interview process could be the standard question and answer time, followed by an online test the candidate takes before they leave. You can find tests and review their applicability with a simple Google search.
  • Pay attention to their behavior. You can tell by talking with a candidate whether they communicate well. Interpersonal skills are also pretty easy to deduce. Of course, candidates act a little differently during an interview either due to nerves, or just kicking it up a notch. But use your gut instinct—what skills does the candidate appear to possess?
  • Check with references. By contacting job references, you can inquire about key soft skills and the degree to which the person feels they were present. Check with multiple references and look for a common theme.
  • Ask the receptionist. Testing a candidate when they’re not expecting it is also a possible screening tactic. Ask your receptionist ahead of time to check for communication skills, a pleasant attitude and charisma.

Work with a recruiter

Your recruiter can help you find highly qualified talent that meshes well with your company. Many recruiters handle some or all steps of the hiring process, including talent sourcing, screening, interviewing, hiring and onboarding.

Looking to staff up?

If you’re looking for a top-rated staffing agency, contact McGrath Systems. We place clients with engineering, IT, human resources, administrative and light industrial candidates, and we’re ready to work with you! To learn more, contact us today.

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