10 Soft Skills Interview Questions and Answers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated June 22, 2022 | Published April 17, 2020

Updated June 22, 2022

Published April 17, 2020

Soft skills consist of an individual's communication skills, social skills and personal attributes. Interview questions on soft skills allow you to explain personality traits that you can showcase in the workplace. Learning more about potential interview questions and answers on soft skills can help you convey to a hiring manager how you can work with your coworkers to accomplish goals.

In this article, we take a look at 10 sample interview questions and answers related to soft skills.

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

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Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

Hard Skills

  1. Bilingual or multilingual

  2. Database management

  3. Adobe software suite

  4. Network security

  5. SEO/SEM marketing

  6. Statistical analysis

  7. Data mining

  8. Mobile development

  9. User interface design

  10. Marketing campaign management

  11. Storage systems and management

  12. Programming languages (such as Perl, Python, Java and Ruby)

Hard skills are technical knowledge or training that you have gained through any life experience, including in your career or education.

Soft Skills

  1. Integrity

  2. Dependability

  3. Effective communication

  4. Teamwork

  5. Creativity

  6. Problem-solving

  7. Critical thinking

  8. Adaptability

  9. Organization

  10. Willingness to learn

  11. Empathy

Soft skills are personal habits and traits that shape how you work, on your own and with others.

Why are soft skills important?

Employers ask about soft skills during an interview because they want to hire a candidate who can adapt to multiple situations. Showcasing your soft skills highlights the ways you behaved in previous roles to achieve your goals. Employers use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action and Result) method to assess your behavior and see if you have the right soft skills to be successful.

Review each component of the STAR interview response technique to effectively communicate your soft skills during a job interview:

  • Situation: Give context about a situation you faced in the workplace and what led to the situation unfolding.

  • Task: Discuss your involvement in the situation.

  • Action: Describe how you acted in this situation and how it affected your mindset toward accomplishing your goal.

  • Result: Highlight the outcome of your actions and the way your behavior led to the outcome. Use quantifiable statistics to underscore how your actions helped your previous employer.

Related: How to Improve Your Soft Skills in the Workplace

Sample interview questions and answers on soft skills

Review these sample interview questions and answers to improve the quality of your responses on soft skills:

1. Can you discuss a time where you had to manage your team through a difficult situation?

An interviewer asks you this question to understand your leadership skills. Explain a scenario where you had to take full ownership of a team and communicate why your judgment makes you a qualified candidate for the position.

Example: "I worked for a web development company, and our team needed to complete the design for a client's website by the end of the month. The UX designer and the senior web developer disagreed on the final changes to the landing page. Our team fell one week behind on the project. I scheduled a meeting the next day, and they both came to an agreement on the design and we delivered it to the client on time. Addressing problems quickly is an important part of being a manager, and I think I can use my judgment from this situation to excel in this role."

Related: 5 Effective Conflict Resolution Strategies

2. How do you prioritize your tasks when you have multiple deadlines to meet?

Hiring managers often want to know how you prioritize tasks to get an overview of your organization skills. Mention the tools you've used to organize your projects and how those tools help you decide on which tasks to work on.

Example: "I use my calendar and project management system to organize my tasks. When I worked as a project manager, I created sections within the project management system to organize which tasks each department worked on. I used my calendar to compartmentalize my time between client calls and work on administrative tasks, which I added to the project management system as well. I plan to use the same setup in my next job so I know when multiple deadlines occur and know the measures to take to mitigate risk."

Related: The Art of Multitasking: Definition + 25 Examples

3. What is the most significant problem you solved in the workplace?

Interviewers look at your response to this question as a way to explore your approach to solving problems. Discuss a problem that you directly helped to solve and that had a positive outcome.

Example: "One of the biggest problems I've faced occurred when two top clients decided not to re-sign with the company. This situation put a lot of pressure on me and the rest of the sales team to increase our production. I hired two sales interns to make cold calls to local prospects and update our lead generation software. I spent the next quarter working later and making sure each employee had a full sales pipeline. We ended up signing four new clients and made up for revenue losses from losing our previous clients."

4. How do you explain new topics to coworkers unfamiliar with them?

Employers ask questions associated with your communication skills to conclude how well you interact with coworkers. Give a situation where you introduced a new subject and describe how you'd use your communication skills going forward.

Example: "When I worked for a software company, I had to explain the software's functionality to three new sales employees and why customers need to buy it. Despite the technical jargon related to software products, I noted how each feature could affect their daily work lives if it didn't function properly. The employees asked attentive questions about the product's usability so they can communicate it to prospects. I plan on using my ability to empathize with people to help them understand complex concepts like the software in this role."

Related: How To Write Procedures: Examples and Tips

5. Describe a situation where results went against expectations. How did you adapt to this change?

The interviewer may ask questions about your adaptability skills to understand how much change affects your approach to work. Note a time where you adapted to change, and highlight the effect it had on your previous employer.

Example: "While working as a marketing coordinator, I spent months collaborating with the marketing manager on details for a charity basketball game. However, it snowed the day of the game and all roads closed due to the weather. I moved the date of the event and coordinated with my manager and the host of the arena to ensure we could move plans to the newly scheduled date. Building relationships with key contacts can help you succeed, and I think my ability to work with people can serve me well with this company."

Related: 21 Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression

6. What are your actions if employees disagree with your decision?

Working well with employees who disagree with you is a sign of your collaboration skills. Tell the interviewer about a time where you disagreed with a coworker about a decision and how you settled the conflict.

Example: "I believe in working with other employees who disagree with me to come up with a comprehensive solution. As a human resources manager, I worked with my department on employee goals for the upcoming year. I told my team to set production goals first before moving onto the training and development goals.

An employee disagreed with my decision and cited performance statistics from the previous year. I spoke with the employee in my office and came to an agreement that they work on brainstorming training and development goals while also working on production goals. I communicated this information to the team to ensure full transparency and that we remained proactive in setting the company's goals."

Related: 5 Common Interview Questions About Conflict (With Answers)

7. Name three of your most important considerations when working for an employer.

Listing what is most important to you in a job underscores your core values. Identify the three things that are most important to you and explain how they match the company's core values.

Example: "A great manager, company culture and the ability to give feedback are three things I look for in a job. I put a lot of value on teamwork and collaboration because these qualities show that companies care about employees' performance and development. Caring for employees' performance and development motivates me to shine and exceed expectations given by my manager. This company's emphasis on a strong company culture inspires me to excel in this role if given the opportunity."

Related: 6 Steps to Discover Your Core Values

8. Highlight a situation where you had to make a decision without managerial supervision. How did you approach this situation, and who else did you speak with?

Being able to make good decisions without supervision is a sign of your growth and overall ability. Provide details about the results of your decision and how this decision impacted the company.

Example: "My manager left me in charge of the marketing department for the day. A client called me with an urgent request to speak with my manager. I told them that I can take the call on my manager's behalf. When I spoke with the client, I took notes on an issue with the design of print deliverables sent by the marketing department earlier in the week.

Luckily, they understood that I didn't interface with them regularly, and I told them I'd give this information to my manager. I left a note on my manager's desk and relayed their comments to my manager in a department meeting Monday morning. My manager thanked me for taking the call and resolved the issue that day."

Related: Why Is Decision-Making an Important Leadership Skill?

9. When have you performed a task without preexisting experience?

Working on tasks outside of duties listed in the job description illustrates your creative skills and diligence. Check if you included the experience outside of your employer's main duties on your resume. You might incorporate it into your response if it relates to your prospective employer.

Example: "I served food and drinks at a concert hosted by my previous employer. The proceeds went to a food bank in the Atlanta area. I've had minimal experience working events, being in the sales department, but volunteering for this event allowed me to cultivate relationships with members of different departments. I think this event strengthened the company's culture, and I'd be happy to work these events again if hired for this position."

Related: 9 Ways To Take Initiative at Work

10. Explain your largest failure at work. How did you learn from this experience?

Explaining a large failure and key learnings display your resiliency in the workplace. Use an example that underscores your ability to learn on the job and excel after a setback.

Example: "I failed to hit my sales targets for two months in a row. My manager informed me following the second month, and I began a development plan to improve my performance. I worked with my manager on a strategy to make a set number of cold calls before I finished each day and had two calls with prospective clients per week.

For each week I had calls with prospective clients, each client signed with the company and the total sales increased the company's revenue by 12%. I learned that my commitment to developing my skills can help me overcame setbacks despite the current situation."

Related: Top 6 Common Interview Questions and Answers

Looking for insight on how to answer common interview questions? In this video, Jenn, an Indeed Career Coach, breaks down the intentions behind employer's questions and shares strategies for crafting strong responses.

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