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Soft skills when interviewing - quick pointers

Soft Skills
over 2 years ago by Gareth Foden

​Recently, I supported a global business in their search for a Business Development Director. It was great. I helped them define the brief, met every single candidate face to face. Provided feedback and helped them define a shortlist. I was then involved with the final face to face meetings as a HR presence. I realised pretty quickly that whilst the people conducting the interviews were seasoned experts in their field, they were missing some of the “recruitment basics” I would want to be crystal clear on.


After the 1st interview, the advice I gave them was pretty straightforward, and felt like it really helped to shape the rest of the interviews:


Firstly, set your stall out and explain to the interviewee what is actually happening. Rather than jumping straight into the questions, introduce the people in the room, let them know their roles and why they are present. Try to make the candidates feel at ease with the room before jumping in to ask “explain to us the complexities of the technology you are involved


The next tip I gave them was to focus on understanding the motivations of the candidates. Yes, they can ask them all the technical questions under the sun and the market & product match might be fantastic. But for a long-term hire, motivations & aspirations are key, so don’t let them leave the room without finding out if this is a fit! Find out what makes them tick, what really gets them out of bed in the morning and importantly what their short term and long-term career goals are. Does that link in with your business and can you then use this as leverage to sell you company to the candidates.

Box off reason for leaving. I explained that is seems really simple but is a good thing to do. Yes, I did this when I interviewed the candidates myself. But make sure you are happy with it. Does it make sense, do you understand it & above all else is it consistent with the reasons I received.


My final pointer was to leave a great impression to all the candidates who took the time to meet with them. Explain the steps moving forward, ask them to contact me with any follow up questions they may think of and thank them for their time. Again, seems really simple but it’s powerful to leave candidates feeling like they have had a great experience with your company.


So there you have it, outside of the typical questions surrounding experience & expertise, to create a full package interview process, start with a great introduction, conclude with a clear next step process for all candidates and somewhere throughout the meeting try to understand what makes that person tick. With those tips in mind you should make candidates feel at ease and be more comfortable in giving honest information.