Interviewer Soft Skills

Most companies have predetermined the qualifications they are looking for when interviewing a candidate. There are specific hard and soft skills that have been decided on even before the requisition is listed on a job board or career site.  We often focus on the candidate’s ability far in advance, but how are we assuring an interviewer is equipped and trained for assessing these skills?  

Interviewer Training & Unconscious Bias

There are many useful online guides on how interviewer training should be facilitated. The most common emphasis I encountered was interviewers being trained to not have unconscious bias. Unconscious bias is the unsubstantiated negative feelings that we have towards a candidate. In order to have a truly fair interview process, an interviewer must work to eliminate unconscious bias. In order to do so, you must first identify your hidden biases. 

As an interviewer, eliminating your biases is vital to your company’s diversity and inclusion. Different perspectives and ideas can lead to innovation and creativity in the workplace. More ways on unconscious bias and how to eliminate it can be found here

Soft Skills

The soft skills needed to be successful in a role should be the same soft skills an interviewer possesses. Given the reverse situation, would an interviewer be able to clearly and effectively answer the questions they are asking a candidate in an interview? It should be a best practice to have answers prepared for the questions you are asking. 

Preparing answers ahead of time enables the interviewer to have a conversation with the candidate vs. having a list of questions they need to get through. It also provides for thoughtful transitions between the interview questions and communicates the aptitude of the interviewer’s abilities.

Additionally, it’s important for interviewers to share their own anecdotes and experiences with the candidate to give them a better idea of the role or company.  

Sample Interviewer Questions:

  • Active Listening & Effective Communication
    • Are you making eye contact? 

*Tip: You should not be thinking of a rebuttal to their response while they are still responding.

  • How would you explain a complex idea/problem to a frustrated client? 
  • Adaptability 
    • Tell me about a significant change in your life. What did you do to adapt to handle it?
    • Tell me about a time you had to handle multiple responsibilities. How did you organize and prioritize the work you needed to do?
  • Time Management 
    • What productivity tools have you found useful? Ie. How do you stay organized?
    • Have you ever felt overwhelmed at work? What did you do?
  • Collaboration 
    • Describe the best partner or supervisor with whom you’ve worked. What part of their managing style appealed to you?
    • What actions and support, in your experience, make a team function successfully?
  • Culture Fit
    • What values are most important for your next company to have?
    • What are your favorite aspects of your current job or previous position you held?

Lastly, an interviewer should exemplify the soft skills they are seeking in their next candidate and this should not be confused with only hiring candidates who are similar to yourself. Soft skills can be interpreted and displayed in different ways, responses and experiences.  

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” 

Isaac Asimov

About the Author

Lisa is a CSM at GoodTime! When she’s not helping customers, she’s taking care of Stella, her chameleon.