Interviewing for Character: How to Assess Soft Skills in the Hiring Process

You know, in this cutthroat world of employment, it’s just not enough anymore to hire based solely on technical qualifications. Employers have wised up and realized the importance of checking out a candidate’s soft skills and character traits to build a TEAM that’s strong and sticks together. It’s all about that perfect combo of talent and character, having both creative and organized individuals on your squad.

Here’s a stat that’ll make your head spin. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a whopping 80% of employee turnover can be blamed on character and attitude issues, not some technical incompetence. That’s right, it’s all about having the right attitude and values. It’s time to prioritize character assessment during the hiring process if you want to avoid a revolving door of employees.

How do we go about assessing character traits? It’s all about behaviour-based interview questions. The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) swears by this approach. They want to know about your past experiences and how you handled situations – about that time you diffused a work conflict without throwing a stapler at someone. Bonus points if you managed to keep the office drama at a minimum, all while wearing a smile!

Let’s not forget the importance of emotional intelligence. According to the Harvard Business Review, high emotional intelligence equals stronger interpersonal skills, adaptability, and resilience. In interviews, candidates, show how they’ve managed to keep on their game in stressful situations. It’s about building rapport with your colleagues or resolving conflicts with grace.

I hear you saying “How do I carry out those assessments?” Well, worry not, because here are some you can use. There’s the VIA Character Survey, which assesses 24 character strengths that can tell you the best part of someone’s character and what they need to work on. And if that’s not enough for you, Gallop has Clifton Strengths assessment that’ll make you thrive at work and everywhere else. Plus, there’s the DISC assessment and the Big Five personality model to give a scientific breakdown of a candidate’s behavior, communication style, and teamwork approach. It’s like taking a look into what drives them and what holds them back.

All in all, assessing soft skills and character traits during the hiring process is crucial. It’s what builds those kick-ass teams and creates a positive work environment. Don’t be afraid to throw in those behavior-based questions, explore emotional intelligence, use those assessments, and don’t forget to check in with references. Character matters! Prioritize character-based hiring practices, and you’ll have a workforce that’s not only technically skilled but also socially savvy.

Let’s face it, too many organizations are making the mistake of hiring based solely on skills and then firing based on character. That’s like going to a potluck and ending up with a plate full of disappointment. When it comes to your next hiring decision, don’t just focus on skills. Take a good look at character and references, it’ll often save you a lot of headaches down the road.

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) – Report: “The Impact of Character in the Workplace” (2022)

Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) – Research Brief: “Behavioral Interviewing: A Guide for Hiring Managers” (2019)

Harvard Business Review – Article: “The Power of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace” (2021)

The Woz
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