When it comes to hiring, hard skills tend to take priority because they’re easy to measure. But the secret to finding the right candidate is in the soft skills.

Education and experience provide a snapshot of what a candidate HAS done. But they don’t paint the whole picture. Soft skills tell you what a candidate CAN do. And HOW they will succeed in doing it.

Soft skills set good people apart from just good on paper.

When you look beyond the technical and focus on the intangibles, you’re far more likely to hire the best person for your team.

So how do you know if a candidate has what it takes to succeed? Hiring managers can tailor interview questions to uncover a candidate’s soft skillset.

Use these interview questions to hire a candidate with 5 important soft skills:

Critical Thinking

Instead of an accomplishment, ask about a time the candidate developed an idea or analyzed information to make a decision.

Q: Tell us about an idea you developed to solve a problem within an organization. What was the impact of that idea?


Don’t ask about what the candidate has accomplished with his/her team, but rather how they accomplished it.

Q: In what ways have you worked with others on a team to accomplish a goal?


Ask about a time the candidate had to innovate or think outside of the box to achieve a goal.

Q: Tell us about a project you completed with limited resources or other constraints. How did you achieve your goal?

Problem Solving

Ask the candidate about overcoming an obstacle and listen, not for the solution, but for the steps that led to it.

Q: What is one obstacle you faced in your current or previous role? How did you overcome it?

Time Management

The goal of this question is to learn how the candidate manages time. Listen for the steps or systems the candidate uses to structure time well and operate efficiently.

Q: How do you manage your time efficiently?

The key to hiring the best fit for your company is prompting applicants to share examples of how they think, respond, and interact with people around them. That way you will be able to tell whether and how they are able to reach goals, overcome obstacles, and use a greater variety of skills than their resume suggests.