Skills assessment is a critical step when interviewing software developers. This is true for hard skills like proficiency in writing code and understanding of systems, but also with soft skills. When we refer to soft skills, these are the skills that are not as easily measured or taught.
Soft skills show how rounded candidates are and whether they will be able to contribute in a meaningful and holistic way to your business.
You can provide these questions in an assessment before the interview, so you have time to study their answers and potentially come up with follow-up questions.
What Soft Skills Should You Evaluate, And How?
Communication is crucial. It is not only being able to speak but also being able to listen and take direction.
Questions to Evaluate Communication:
What’s one time you miscommunicated with a team member or superior? How did the situation get resolved?
Being able to set realistic timelines for projects is an important part of being a software developer. The ability to make deadlines is crucial and must be evaluated before hiring.
Questions To Evaluate Time Management:
What are the top three things you do to ensure you make deadlines?
What was one time you failed to make a deadline? Why? What would you do differently?
Self-assurance lends the ability to try something difficult even if they haven’t tried before. It makes for candidates who are self-motivated and need little supervision to complete tasks.
Questions to Evaluate Self-Assurance:
Describe a time you had a different opinion from your boss and turned out to be right. How did you handle the situation? Would you change anything?
The ability to work with others is valuable no matter what industry you’re in. Evaluating collaborating skills is an important step to ensure candidates can effectively share tasks.
Questions to Evaluate Teamwork:
What are the essential components of teamwork?
Describe a time a team project struggled because of a lack of teamwork. How would you improve that situation if you could do it again?
How do you feel about working in a team?
The ability to be patient in the face of adversity (mistakes, consistent errors, coding problems) and continue working to solve the problem is important. It can make the difference between a compelling candidate and one who can’t solve problems.
Questions to Evaluate Perseverance:
What’s the most significant setback you’ve ever faced professionally? How did you deal with it?
Creative people can design and fix just about everything. Candidates who show high levels of creativity can offer a lot to projects through their problem-solving skills and design abilities. Having a creative person on the team can change the entire direction of a project in a time of crisis.
Questions to Evaluate Creativity:
Describe a time you had to think outside the box. How did you go about it? What was the result?
Candidates who can admit they made a mistake and work toward correcting that mistake contribute to team cohesion, higher performance, and a positive work environment. Evaluating accountability allows you to see how open to constructive feedback potential candidates are.
Questions to Evaluate Accountability:
Describe a time you made a mistake. How did you fix it?
Describe a time you received negative feedback. Did you feel that was a fair assessment? Why or why not?
When new information is introduced, open-mindedness allows it to be integrated and used appropriately. Candidates with this skill bring fresh ideas and innovation into a workplace and can be a serious asset when a company goes in a new direction.
Questions to Evaluate Open-Mindedness:
Describe a time you had to learn a new task. How did you feel about learning this? How did it go?
Empathy is an important skill when collaborating. Empathy gives people the ability to see from another point of view. This lends itself to problem-solving, communication, and teamwork.
Questions to Evaluate Empathy:
Tell me about a time a team member made a mistake. How did that affect your relationship?
Critical and Logical Thinking
The ability to carefully weigh the pros and cons of a situation before proceeding is critical. Many times, once a direction is decided on, it isn’t possible to course-correct. This means being able to go through information systematically must be a skill candidates have to effectively carry out projects.
Questions to Evaluate Critical and Logical Thinking:
Describe a time you had to convince a team member or superior to use a different approach to solve a problem.
Problem-solving is a developer’s main function. They create software to solve a problem, so they must have good skills at determining exactly what the problem is, and what steps they can take to solve this problem.
Question to Evaluate Problem-Solving Skills:
Describe a time you solved a previously unsolvable problem. What did you do? How did you figure it out?
Apply These Same Soft Skills to Interviewing
Once candidates return these questionnaires, you have the opportunity to use these same soft skills. Empathetically read their response and evaluate them with critical thinking. See where in their answers they answered creatively. Keep a copy of their answers with you in the interview so you can ask follow-up questions. This will allow you to accurately measure the soft skills they have, and how they can employ those in real-life scenarios.