Interviews are more than just a routine exchange of questions and answers. They serve as an important turning point for businesses and interviewees alike, determining a candidate’s compatibility for a role and the company’s culture. 

In this blog series, we plan to delve into the nuanced art of interviewing in the tech industry, illuminating important questions that should be on the minds of employers and candidates alike. Beyond the surface-level evaluation of skills and qualifications, we recognize the importance of expanding on details listed on resumes to decipher the best fit.

Key Takeaways

  • Be considerate of both your hard and soft skills questions. Ensure they are open-ended and be prepared with follow-ups as needed.
  • Make a note of strong and poor responses in potential answers to your questions before you ask them.
  • When developing questions, keep in mind the traits and values most important to your company to verify the candidate aligns as a cultural fit.

Exploring Soft Skills

In 2024, soft skills has become a contentious term. Originating with the U.S. Army in the late 1960s, it has recently faced scrutiny for being perceived as derogatory and outdated. However, a quick Google search would return hundreds of articles suggesting we are still far from having an agreed-upon new term to replace “soft skills.” 

This terminology debate is just one aspect of a broader trend in talent acquisition focusing on the evolution of interpersonal skills. Over the past decade, employers have recognized that traditional hard skills are not as indispensable as once believed. With tools and technologies evolving rapidly across all industries, even the most technical teams may find their hard skill expertise outdated within a few years. The rise of AI will only further accelerate this shift, necessitating a focus on adaptability in the workforce.

In response, employers have redefined their priorities, valuing the ability to learn new concepts over mastery of specific technical skills. Therefore, soft skills are no longer the less attractive cousin of hard skills; they stand firmly in the spotlight, demanding hiring managers’ attention.

How to Develop Soft Skill Questions

The soft skills you’ll be looking for can vary depending on the values of the company and the position itself. While this calls for constant updating and reworking of soft skills questions, do not despair. The formula for a great soft skills question is simple: consider a scenario in which this particular skill will be impactful, whether good or bad. Then, create the question around that event.

Links to posts:

Self-Awareness

Emotional Intelligence

Collaboration

Exploring Probing Questions

Unlike follow-up questions, probing questions generally have a specific or nuanced answer in mind. They encourage plenty of dialogue from the candidate, so you’ll have to articulate them well. The follow-up questions should build on the initial one while providing the candidate with the opportunity to include new information.

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Probing Questions

Exploring Hard Skills

Most interviewers will find it easier to come up with hard-skill questions together over soft-skill ones. However, don’t make the mistake of making them overly straightforward or simplified. This can lead candidates to rely on rehearsed responses, presenting an exaggerated sense of their capabilities. As a general rule of thumb, strive for an open-ended question instead of one that will generate a one-dimensional answer. 

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Hard Skills

The Critical Importance of Asking the Right Questions

Interviewing is a pivotal point in the hiring process. It’s when a candidate’s skills and abilities come to life, and separate the good from the great. While there are no wrong answers; or questions for that matter, being strategic about your approach will benefit you in the long run.

Encountering difficulties with interviews or aiming to hone your techniques? Talentlab can help. We know the ins and outs of the tech industry and, more importantly, the companies we work with. Let’s find qualified candidates for interviews that turn into exceptional hires. Reach out to us today.

Sarah Doughty

Sarah is a seasoned recruitment advisor, with a background in hard-to-find technical talent searches. Over the course of her career she has worked with hundreds of clients building high-tech employment brands, leading recruitment teams, marketing candidates, executing passive search strategies, and developing expansive passive candidate pools in key markets across North America. Sarah excels in tough situations that require creativity and tenacity to overcome challenges.