How to Sharpen Your Interview Skills With These Soft Skills Questions


Your superb qualifications alone won’t get you the new job. The interviewer will want to know about another set of skills not on the resume. These invisible skills are more difficult to determine but they can be the ultimate barometer for testing your suitability for a job. Especially, a job which is about collaboration and teamwork.

You know them as soft skills. They are determined based on a series of behavioral interview questions. It is important to know how to answer these questions in the right manner to impress the interviewer. Here are several soft skill questions that you need to be prepared for:

1. Leadership


Question: Can you tell me about a time when you successfully led a team through a difficult project?

What the interviewer wants to know: Companies want to hire candidates with proven ability to take charge of a situation and provide guidance to colleagues during difficult times. Your client wants to know if you can be a true leader or stay a passive follower.

Tips on how to answer:

  • Mention a time you independently came up with a solution to a work problem.
  • If a problem was caused by your own actions or lack of knowledge, admit to your mistake, and mention the steps you took to avoid similar problems in the future.
  • In brief, mention the specific steps you took to resolve the issue, like organizing a meeting to discuss strategies, seeking help from an expert, etc.
  • Explain how your actions resulted in the problem being solved and improved productivity.

2. Time Management

Question: How do you cope with extra work on a project?

What the interviewer wants to know: Are you the type to get overwhelmed by extra work? Also, can you juggle multiple assignments at the same time? And finally, do you have a gameplan to manage excess work?

Tips on how to answer:

  • Briefly describe how you organize a typical workday to get the most work done.
  • Mention any software you use to manage projects. For instance, you can talk about your personal preference for using OneNote as a productivity system.
  • Give an example of how you met project goals by breaking down a massive project into manageable chunks.
  • Say you are open to advise from superiors on how to manage critical tasks.

3. Conflict Resolution Skills

Conflict Resolution

Question: Tell us about a time when you had to work with someone you were not compatible with.

What the interviewer wants to know: How well do you play with others? And are you capable of working productively with someone you don’t get along with?

This question is about your emotional intelligence, and if you can be productive in a potentially difficult work environment.

Tips on how to answer:

  • Mention that you get along with most of your colleagues, except those rare cases when differences of opinion may arise.
  • Don’t spend too much time talking about the actual conflict and the reasons behind it. Instead, focus on talking about the steps you took to resolve the situation.
  • Talk about how you avoid confrontation with a set of ground rules. For instance, you like to solve issues head-on instead of beating around the bush.
  • Emphasize your ability to remain polite and professional when faced with hostility.

4. Problem Solving

Question: Can you tell us about a time when you overcame a significant challenge?

What the interviewer wants to know: How good you are at solving problems at the workplace, and whether you can be relied upon to come up with creative solutions independently.

Tips on how to answer:

  • Don’t just talk about overcoming a job-related challenge, but also mention any instances when you independently came up with ways to be more productive at work.
  • Give a full description of the specific details you encountered that led to the problem you faced.
  • Mention how you interpreted a problem before you found its solution. For instance, you came across an inter-departmental conflict due to lack of communication.
  • Talk about the steps you took to bring about a successful resolution to the problem. For instance, you solved it with a simple project management template in Excel.

5. Communication

Question: How would you explain a complex topic to someone unfamiliar with the subject?

What the interviewer wants to know: How good are you at communicating with your colleagues? Furthermore, can you collaborate with team members who have different skillsets?

Tips on how to answer:

  • Mention that you actively seek to build a rapport with your colleagues by organizing off-site activities, asking more experienced colleagues for help with difficult projects, taking an active interest in their work, etc.
  • If asked to explain a subject, break the topic down into three parts: The problem, the solution, and the solution steps involved.
  • Use general examples and analogies to explain the details of the topic to help people who are unfamiliar with the subject.
  • Talk about how you like to take the help of YouTube videos, explanatory charts, and other media to explain topics more clearly.

Related: You should always strive to improve your communication skills as it is a transferable skill across all kinds of jobs.

6. Adaptability


Question: Talk about a time when things did not go according to plan at work.

What the interviewer wants to know: Can you keep a calm head during an emergency?

Tips on how to answer:

  • Mention any changes to the workplace that you have experienced in the past, and how you embraced those changes instead of avoiding them.
  • Talk about your fondness for trying new software and strategies to improve efficiency.
  • Discuss the initiation process at your former workplace, and how quickly you were able to adapt to the rules and working style of the company.
  • Tell the interviewer that you rely on proven routines and can tweak them if necessary when things go wrong.
  • Explain a typical crisis and how your out of the box solution helped untangle it.

7. Work Culture Suitability

Question: What are the things that are most important to you in a job?

What the interviewer wants to know: How closely your personal goals and ambitions align with that of the company, and whether you will want to keep working here for the long haul.

Tips on how to answer:

  • Mention your enthusiasm for the company’s achievements, and your admiration for the general workplace environment.
  • Express your desire to commit to the company for the long term, and how you plan to progress with the company’s guidance.
  • Talk about your personal passions that align with the company’s areas of interests.

8. Collaboration


Question: How well will you fare in group projects?

What the interviewer wants to know: This is a different line of questioning than asking about your communication skills. The company wants to know if you are a team player or a lone wolf (Hint: it’s never a good idea to be considered a lone wolf at the workplace).

Tips on how to answer:

  • Go back to your communication skills. Stress the importance you place on regular communication with your colleagues.
  • Talk about the positives of teamwork; like the camaraderie, the united sense of purpose, or having someone reliable to depend upon.
  • Don’t shy away from mentioning negative experiences with former teammates, but emphasize the lessons learned.

Be Genuine to Handle Tricky Interview Questions

Soft skills interview questions can be double-edged. You have to balance your successes with your failures so that you sound more human. Experience interviewers can detect empty bombast or exaggerated achievements. In the digital social age, it is difficult to cloak your true track record.

Be genuine. Think of an interview as a friendly conversation between two professionals and not as a verbal duel. Preparation goes a long way to help you gain that confidence. Why not start your preparation by learning how not to answer common job interview questions?

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How to Sharpen Your Interview Skills With These Soft Skills Questions