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Why You Need to Assess Soft Skills During Interviews

August 18, 2021
UBC MEL & MHLP - Employer - Soft Skills Assessment in Interviews

Your employees’ soft skills are as essential to your organization’s success as their technical or hard skills – and should be evaluated just as carefully in your interview process.

The best candidate is not just someone who has the wide-ranging technical knowledge to succeed in the job. The best candidate goes well beyond this and exemplifies the personality traits and behaviours needed to lead teams, departments and organizations to reach goals and achieve success.

Soft skills are even more important in virtual and hybrid work environments where you absolutely need people who can engage colleagues, lead by example and create productive, collaborative and high-performing work environments.

Given the importance of soft skills, it’s not surprising that an article published in Society for Human Resource Management highlighted that 97 per cent of employers surveyed said that soft skills were either as important or more important than hard skills.

Another study conducted by Wonderlic, a company that offers online pre-employment assessment tools, found that 93 per cent of hiring leaders believed soft skills are an “essential” or “very important” element when making hiring decisions.

The Five Soft Skills That Make a Difference

What soft skills should you be evaluating during your interview process?

According to Manatal, a recruitment software company, hiring managers should be looking for examples of the following soft skills if they want to select the best candidate for the job.

  • Leadership. Critical for management and consultancy roles, but valuable for junior positions as well. Employees with strong leadership skills provide your team with a solid pillar to lean on or turn to for direction.
  • Critical Thinking. Employees who can think critically are able to solve problems – and can help their co-workers see new perspectives and develop more effective solutions.
  • Adaptability & Time Management. Employees with strong adaptability and time management skills can be trusted to make the most of their time and contribute to a more efficient and productive workplace.
  • Communication. Effective communication skills are essential for ensuring team collaboration and providing effective feedback – ultimately boosting workplace engagement and productivity.
  • Dependability. Dependable employees are the cornerstone of an organization. Employees who deliver on expectations are often those who take on positions of increasing responsibility and leadership.

Assessing These Skills in an Interview

Past performance is one of the best predictors of future performance, which is why behavioural and situational interview questions are usually considered the best way to assess a candidate’s suitability for a position.

Asking interviewees to describe situations where they exemplified these or other soft skills can help you identify who can add the most value to your team and organization.

Graduates with the Soft Skills to Achieve Success

Hiring someone with a high aptitude to lead, problem solve, manage timelines and effectively communicate goals and objectives is essential for your team’s success.

Graduates of the UBC Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) and the UBC Master of Health Leadership & Policy (MHLP) have successfully developed the soft skills required to thrive in mid to senior leadership positions.

This is in thanks to their prior professional experience and their unique hybrid postgraduate education that blends graduate-level courses from UBC Faculty of Applied Science or UBC School of Nursing, respectively and business classes from UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School.

The current MEL and MHLP cohorts will be completing their studies in December, making this an excellent time to promote your key job opportunities with our group of professional and experienced graduates.

Contact Chris McKinnon, our Employer Relations and Careers Manager to to learn how you can connect with our MEL and MHLP graduate and alumni network.