The Best Questions to Assess a Candidate's Intangibles

The Best Questions to Assess a Candidate's Intangibles

By Jonathan Raude

June 13, 2023

Assessing a candidate's tendencies during the hiring process is crucial for identifying the right fit for a position. While technical skills and experience are vital, understanding a candidate's character traits and personality can provide valuable insights into their work style, communication abilities, and cultural fit within the organization. In this blog post, we will delve into the best questions to ask during a candidate’s non-technical assessment.

1. Tell me about a time when you faced a challenging situation at work and how you handled it.

Statistical Insight: According to a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, 80% of high-achieving professionals considered adaptability and resilience as key personality traits for success. By asking this question, you gauge a candidate's problem-solving skills, ability to handle pressure, and their overall attitude toward challenges.

2. Describe a situation where you had to collaborate with a difficult colleague or team member. How did you handle it?

Statistical Insight: Research by Forbes suggests that 97% of employees believe teamwork and collaboration are critical to success. This question helps you evaluate a candidate's interpersonal skills, conflict resolution abilities, and their capacity to work harmoniously in diverse environments.

3. Can you provide an example of a time when you took the initiative to improve a process or solve a problem without being asked?

Statistical Insight: A survey conducted by LinkedIn found that 46% of employers value initiative and self-motivation when hiring new candidates. This question helps assess a candidate's proactivity, innovative thinking, and their inclination to go above and beyond their assigned responsibilities.

4. How do you prioritize your tasks and manage your time effectively?

Statistical Insight: The American Psychological Association reported that 40% of workers identify time management as a significant source of stress. By posing this question, you can gain insights into a candidate's organizational skills, ability to meet deadlines, and their overall productivity.

5. Tell me about a time when you made a mistake at work. How did you handle it, and what did you learn from it?

Statistical Insight: According to a study by Accountemps, 82% of managers believe that admitting mistakes and taking responsibility is a crucial aspect of professional growth. This question helps evaluate a candidate's humility, accountability, and their capacity to learn from failures.

6. How do you handle feedback and criticism?

Statistical Insight: Research from Zenger/Folkman reveals that employees who are open to feedback are more likely to be highly effective leaders. By asking this question, you can assess a candidate's emotional intelligence, willingness to learn and grow, and their ability to accept constructive feedback.

While assessing a candidate's character and personality can be challenging, it is essential for making informed hiring decisions. By incorporating these well-crafted questions into your assessment process, supported by statistical insights, you can gain valuable information about a candidate's suitability for a position. Remember, it is crucial to combine character assessment with technical qualifications to create a well-rounded evaluation of potential candidates.

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